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2019/10/16

Time to Start Rebuilding Society
   

For Immediate Release

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) welcomes the proposals laid out by Chief Executive Carrie Lam today in her third Policy Address. We recognise the efforts the Government is making to resolve the grave challenges facing Hong Kong. We hope these measures will start paving a path for recovery and reconciliation.

Chamber Chairman Aron Harilela said: “Housing is a crucial issue that Hong Kong needs to resolve. The Chief Executive’s plan to provide 10,000 units within the next three years should help alleviate the shortages. The combination of expediting the sale of affordable public housing units under the Home Ownership Scheme, building additional starter homes, and raising the loan-to-value mortgage threshold, should also allow more first-time home buyers to secure their own home quickly. We are also pleased to see the Government will explore the option of redeveloping factory estates into public housing, something that the Chamber has been advocating for many years.”

Harilela stressed that the Chamber hopes to see the speeding up of the development of private agricultural land and brownfield sites through public-private partnerships and the Lands Resumption Ordinance. He urged the Government to adopt this multi-pronged strategy as soon as practicable.

Hong Kong businesses and the public have had to contend with protests for more than four months. We have all been deeply affected both emotionally and financially by the protests.

“If law and order is not restored soon, many more SMEs will face extreme financial difficulties resulting in more people losing their livelihoods. The previously announced measures to help SMEs should help limit such closures, but stability and normality has to return to Hong Kong as soon as possible to avoid large-scale layoffs,” said CEO Shirley Yuen.

The extension of the coverage of the Technology Talent Admission Scheme to companies outside of the Science Park and the Cyberport should help companies struggling to find workers with the necessary skills, as Hong Kong develops into an innovative and technology driven economy.

“Hong Kong has accumulated massive fiscal reserves which the Government has insisted on saving for a rainy day. As we are now contending with historically unprecedented external and internal challenges, we agree that money should be prudently used to start tackling some of the fundamental challenges. These include housing, the environment, education and social issues, which are part of the overall picture for meeting the public’s aspirations,” said Harilela.

A key issue that the Chamber has been advocating for several years is the need for a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) mechanism to ensure transparent and proper consultations.

“While we are pleased that the Government has listened to some of the views of the business community, we were hoping it would have taken this opportunity to work on building a RIA mechanism. This would help identify the pros and cons relating to new or existing policies, flag possible problems and prevent unintentional consequences early on. It would also make everyone feel they have a stake in the process, be better informed and more confident about accepting proposals,” said Yuen.

“While we welcome the measures that have been announced in the Policy Address, there is clearly a lot more work to be done in rebuilding Hong Kong and healing the divisions in society. We hope that the measures set out in the Policy Address will be a firm step towards this objective,” concluded Harilela.

 

 


Media inquiries: Please contact Mr German Cheung at 2823 1297 / german@chamber.org.hk

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