Hong Kong’s finance chief has announced plans to transform the city into an international centre for green technology, including bond issues totalling HK$15 billion.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced the plans when delivering the first budget of Chief Executive John Lee’s term on Wednesday morning.
The financial chief devoted two and a half pages to “green city” plans in his 83-page budget. He said a portion of the government’s green bonds and other infrastructure bonds would be reserved for investment by the city’s Mandatory Provident Fund, giving members of the retirement scheme an additional investment option.
“Promoting a green economy for sustainable development is an important theme globally, and our country is advancing towards the ‘3060 Dual Carbon Targets’,” Chan said. This was a reference to China’s goal of reaching peak carbon by the year 2030 and becoming carbon-neutral by 2060.
He added that the government had issued a “tokenised” green bond totalling HK$800 million a week earlier.
Greenpeace Hong Kong criticised Chan’s plans, saying he was trying to “dye green” proposed reclamation projects that would damage the marine ecology.
The government was pushing ahead with the Lantau Tomorrow Vision reclamation and development project despite a projected deficit of HK$140 billion in 2022-23, Greenpeace said.
It said in a statement the issuing of green bonds would pave the way for the financing of Lantau Tomorrow Vision. “We urge the government to withdraw the reclamation project which will cost billions.”
New energy transport
Chan announced that HK$220 million would be allocated to finance a New Energy Transport Fund, to promote trials of hydrogen fuel cell electric double-deck buses and heavy vehicles within this year.
The financial secretary also announced plans to set up a Green Technology and Finance Development Committee, with representatives from green technology, green finance and green standard certification organisations, to advise on the city’s environmental agenda.
The 2023 Budget in full:
- Hong Kong unveils HK$761 billion budget in bid to boost post-Covid recovery
- HK$5,000 consumption vouchers for all eligible residents
- Tax cuts scaled back, transport subsidy extended, other relief measures
- Jockey Club to pay HK$12 billion football betting tax over 5 years to increase gov’t income
- Cigarette packs rise by HK$12 in bid to disincentivise smoking
- Police equipment budget rises 59%, despite spending just 8.5% of 2022 allocation
- City expects to see HK$140 billion deficit, but ‘visible rebound’ in economy expected
- Gov’t to spend HK$50m on promotional work as city outlines new local ‘happy’ campaign
- Mixed reviews as critics slam gov’t for overlooking the poor
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