A new round of HK$10,000 electronic spending coupons will be distributed to all permanent residents and new immigrants to Hong Kong who are aged 18 or above, the city’s financial chief said.

Presenting the final budget address of his term in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the city’s fifth Covid-19 wave has “badly hit people’s livelihood, jobs and businesses of small and medium enterprises.”

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To encourage spending and support the affected businesses, the government is doubling the sum of last year’s consumption vouchers to HK$10,000, which will be distributed in two instalments of HK$5,000.

The first HK$5,000 will be given out in April to the 6.3 million people who had registered in the last round of the scheme, while the rest will come in mid-2022 and to new applicants, Chan said.

The release mechanism will be similar to last year’s: Vouchers can be used on regular retail spending, but cannot be cashed in or used for items such as government bills.

Those who choose to receive the consumption vouchers through their Octopus card users will be given instalments of HK$4,000 and HK1,000, due to the transport card’s cap on the amount of credit it can store.

The government will also consider changing the electronic wallet platforms through which the vouchers are released, as some are better developed than others, officials said.

Residents can choose not to use the same electronic wallet as last year. Those who wish to continue using the same wallet will not need to register again.

The government hopes business owners could continue to offer discounts to consumers using consumption vouchers.

Satisfactory stimulus effect

Last year, consumption vouchers worth HK5,000 were handed out to permanent residents and new arrivals to the city. Those on employment visas, student visas and domestic workers were excluded from the scheme.

Government sources said the last round of consumption vouchers had a satisfactory stimulus effect.

Paul Chan delivers 2022 budget
Financial Secretary Paul Chan. Photo: Video screenshot.

In all, Chan said the scheme will benefit 6.6 million people and will cost the government HK$ 66.4 billion.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.