Policy Address 19/20

Policy Address 19/20: Policy Address fails to alleviate economic concerns of SMEs

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AcaciaRedding、Nicole Ko、Hong-shun Wong、KawaiWong、AlecLastimosa、Jay GanglaniEdited by: Anna Kam、Nadia Lam、Yetta Lam
  • 2019-10-16

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed concern about the "pressure borne by small and medium-sized enterprises and members of the public amid an economic downturn," but unveiled no further measures to aid such enterprises in her policy address today.  Between the US-China trade war and the ongoing political conflict in Hong Kong. "The global economic growth has slowed since late 2018," said Mrs. Lam  "Violent acts in the recent months have aggravated the situation, posing an unprecedented challenge to our economy," Mrs. Lam, said in her third policy address.  "Since July this year, there have been sharp reductions in visitor arrivals due to the airport halt and retail sales, a continued decline in trade exports as well as deeply dampened businesses, investment and consumption sentiments. Certain industries have recorded the worst business performance ever," she said.  Besides assisting Hong Kong enterprises through promoting products and services to the mainland market, the government is also seeking policy support for "tax concessions for the city's enterprises that want to switch from exports to domestic sales and streamlining of the approval process" to bolster competitiveness in the Mainland domestic market.  SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES  As of January 2017, 330,000 SMEs operate in Hong Kong, accounting for 98.3% of total business units and providing job opportunities to over 1.3 million people, according to the government's official website. Some retail businesses said they are not under a great deal of pressure due to a dependable amount of local customers that they know will continue to come in regularly.  A saleswoman at a folk costume shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, who did not wish to reveal her identity, said, "Our business has not been affected because our customers are mostly locals." Mr. Leung, a staff member at Japanese restaurant Betsutenjin in Tsim Sha Tsui, said …

Policy Address 19/20: Policy address offers transport subsidies, but ignores MTR closures

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: SamuelMo、Cherry Lee、CarineChow、Han XuEdited by: Karen Kwok、Jo Ng、Phoebe Lai
  • 2019-10-16

The chief executive has outlined a plan to save an average of around 280 million dollars a year in public transport fares in her policy address. That includes toll exemption for franchised buses at seven tunnels and two toll roads. Carrie Lam believes that will reduce annual fare increase in public transport systems by about three percent. About 2.2 million people are expected to benefit from $1.3 billion  in transport subsidies in the coming year. The government also pledged to commit $412 million to subsidise six outlying island ferry routes. But the chief executive has not addressed recent closures of MTR stations as a result of the unrest in recent months. Professor Carlos Lo Wing-hung, head of the Government and Public Administration Department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong thinks that the increase in travel subsidies may not satisfy the needs of Hong Kong residents. The increase may only catch up with inflation. "The subsidies cannot meet the needs of middle- and lower-class residents," he said.  Prof. Lo believes policies on livelihood outlined in the policy address are designed to draw public attention away from the extradition bill and the anti-mask law . Earlier this month, services on all 11 railway lines on the MTR were suspended due to the ongoing protests. Some stations such as Kwun Tong and Mongkok, were closed for four days.  Since 11th October, MTR services stop at 10 pm every evening.  Ms. Ku, aged 53, lives in Shatin. He said the MTR closures are"unreasonable".  "Passengers cannot estimate their traveltime," Ms. Ku said   Coey Tse, who lives in Shatin finds it inconvenient to use public transport systems other than the MTR.  "I rely on the MTR and I am not getting used to taking other means of transport," said Ms. Tse, "The waiting time has …