By Nathan Schweizer
Registration began Sunday for Hong Kong's plan to distribute $6000 to each of its citizens. The historic plan is hoped to help alleviate the pressure felt by families coping with Hong Kong's rapid price inflation.
（Ecns.cn)--Registration opened on August 28 in accordance with the Hong Kong government's plan to distribute $6000 HK (around $770 US) to each of its permanent residents over the age of 18. The plan, which replaces an earlier plan proposed by Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang to contribute the $6000 to the pension plans of all Hong Kong citizens, was decided upon after input from citizens indicated higher support for a direct handout.
Citizens may register between August 28, 2011 and December 31, 2012 at Hong Kong post offices or one of Hong Kong's commercial banks and an age-determined batching scheme has been enacted in order to smooth the registration process.* Payments for initial registrants will begin 10-12 weeks after registration and registrants may also choose to wait to register until after April 1, 2012 in return for an additional $200 bonus payment. All told, an estimated $37 billion HK (around $4.75 billion US) will be handed out to the city's roughly 6 million residents through the plan.
The Hong Kong Community Care Fund also announced on June 21 that newly-arrived, low-income Hong Kong residents reaching the age of 18 before March of next year would be eligible for an additional $6000 handout, although they will be required to undergo an income check. Recipients must register before October of next year and should expect to receive their cash by November at the earliest. Overall, the Community Care Fund plan is expected to grant roughly $1.5 billion HK to more than 20,000 people.
Despite earlier concerns that cash infusion into the Hong Kong economy from the handout could lead to inflation as residents rush to spend their freshly-received cash, a variety of Hong Kong academics have spoken up suggesting that inflationary pressures from the handout should be limited and that the cash could provide families with a much-needed relief from daily financial pressures. For example, He Luosheng, professor at Hong Kong's Lingnan University, told reporters that most of the city's recent inflation had been the result the rising prices of a variety of imported goods and that the government handouts should have a limited impact on inflation.