For Immediate Release
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) welcomes the Government’s latest package of measures announced today to safeguard the economy and jobs as businesses struggle to stay afloat amid the unprecedented challenges brought on by the coronavirus epidemic.
“We met with the Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently and presented various fiscal measures that could be used to address the liquidity shortage that businesses are facing and avoid mass layoffs,” said HKGCC Chairman Aron Harilela. “We are pleased that the Government has responded quickly by implementing these emergency measures to support the economy and jobs. Given the urgency of the situation, we are also pleased that many of the measures will be rolled out quickly.”
The $137.5 billion package of measures will provide much-needed relief for all sectors in Hong Kong, as businesses across the board have been affected by the pandemic. The Government’s decision to cover 50% of workers’ wages, capped at $9,000, will also partially help ease pressure on companies’ wage bills and help maintain people’s livelihoods.
HKGCC’s LegCo Representative Jeffrey Lam said he is pleased that the Government has agreed to increase the financial commitment to the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme. “I have been urging the Government to increase the loan guarantee amount because this is what many SMEs have been calling for to help their businesses,” he said. “We also welcome the HKMA’s decision to advise banks to allow SMEs to repay interest on loans and not the principal for up to 12 months.”
Many governments around the world have rolled out emergency measures to pay a certain percentage of workers’ salaries for a fixed period. The Chamber is grateful that the Chief Executive, Financial Secretary and HKMA have all agreed on the need for urgency given the unprecedented difficulties the pandemic is having on the economy.
“We stressed the need for swift action as this is paramount to saving jobs, so we are extremely relieved that the Government has decided to introduce this $137.5 billion employment protection scheme,” said Harilela.
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