A panoramic view of the financial area in Hong Kong. （Photo/Xinhua）
The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday passed the appropriation bill of the 2020-21 Budget that contains various relief measures to help businesses and residents weather through economic hardship.
Those measures, worth over 120 billion Hong Kong dollars (around 15.5 billion U.S. dollars) in total, include 10,000 Hong Kong dollars of cash handout for each permanent resident, reduction of income tax and salaries tax, and reduction of rental and fees for tenants of government properties.
Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government Paul Chan welcomed the approval and said the government will carry out the measures as soon as possible.
Chan expects Hong Kong residents can receive the cash handout in August.
The Hong Kong economy is facing tremendous challenges after the impacts of COVID-19 epidemic and social unrest, with the GDP down by 8.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, the sharpest quarterly decline since 1974.
The relief measures aim to stabilize growth and confidence and prevent a downward spiral in the economy, Chan said, stressing that the government will properly use fiscal reserves to go through the difficult time along with Hong Kong residents.