Hong Kong will release the remaining HK$2,000 worth of consumption vouchers on July 16, Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced at a Monday press conference.
Meanwhile, Ricky Chong, principal assistant secretary for financial services and the treasury, said that that 70,000 registrants for last year’s handout were deemed ineligible after they withdrew their Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) early – a common move for those permanently leaving the city.
As part of last year’s budget, Chan announced that HK$10,000 worth of electronic spending coupons would be distributed to all permanent residents and new immigrants to Hong Kong who are aged 18 or above. According to the eligibility criteria, those who had permanently departed from Hong Kong, or had such an intention, would be unable to receive the vouchers. The government would consider different factors, including whether the person had submitted claim requests for the withdrawal of MPF.
Chong said that – for last year’s scheme – the government sent warnings to 240,000 registrants who had apparently withdrawn their MPF. However, following case reviews, 170,000 of them successfully received the handout, whilst the remaining 70,000 did not.
Chong added: “The so called successful reviews meant that the registrants… told us that they had indeed withdrawn the MPF, but they had come back to Hong Kong now.”
HK$2,000 released in July
Another round of consumption vouchers totalling HK$5,000 were unveiled in this year’s budget. The first instalment of HK$3,000 was distributed to the residents on April 16, and the remainder will be disbursed on July 16.
There are now six payment platforms for receiving vouchers including HSBC’s PayMe, Tap & Go, WeChat Pay HK, AlipayHK, Octopus and BoC Pay. Existing registrants who do wish to change the payment platform are not required to register again.
New recipients who wish to enrol, or existing ones who wish to switch to another platform, will have to submit registration details between next Monday and June 27. They may visit the consumption voucher electronic registration portal, or nine temporary service centres.
Chong said that Monday would be the cut-off day to determine whether people are newly eligible for receiving the vouchers.
Any new registrants will receive two separate vouchers, totalling HK$3,000 and HK$2,000, on July 16 and October 16 respectively.
When asked whether this round would be the last consumption vouchers for residents, Chan said: “As the external environment is still not so good, there are many variables and our exports are still declining – we issued consumption vouchers to stabilise the economy. In the future, it depends on the economic and social situation. Generally speaking, the scheme would hardly become a regular programme.”
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