February 8, 2022
HONG KONG – Hong Kong must contain the COVID-19 Omicron variant outbreak as soon as possible to stabilize and support the economy, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his Sunday blog.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government last Friday announced the sixth round of Anti-epidemic Fund of at least HK$20 billion ($2.57 billion), and the administration will seek funding approval of the Legislative Council when it finalizes the details
The finance chief vowed that the 2022-23 Budget, to be announced on Feb 23, will have measures to deal with the short and medium-term economic situations, as well as deployments for facilitating medium and long-term economic development.
“We must contain the spread of the virus in the shortest timespan in order to protect the livelihood of employees and small businesses. Only when the pandemic situation is contained then we can stabilize and support the economy to the largest extent. The Omicron variant outbreak, again, has brought a heavy toll on the economy,” Chan noted in the blog.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government last Friday announced the sixth round of Anti-epidemic Fund of at least HK$20 billion ($2.57 billion), and the administration will seek funding approval of the Legislative Council when it finalizes the details.
In January, the government unveiled the fifth round of the Anti-epidemic Fund of HK$3.57 billion, targeting those premises that have been closed since Jan 7; restaurants, which are forbidden from providing dine-in service after 6 pm; and travel agencies, which are struggling financially because of continued disruptions to the flow of people into and out of Hong Kong since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Anti-epidemic Fund is trying to stabilize people’s livelihoods that have been battered by the pandemic. When it comes to the government budget, the government also needs deployments for facilitating medium to long-term development as the risks of the external environment should not be underestimated.
“The international political and economic situation is still complex and volatile. With supply-chain bottlenecks persisting in many countries, coupled with the price surge pressure of energy and commodities, affecting global economic outlook and leading to persistent high inflation in some major economies,” Chan said.
“As a result, this makes the deployments of monetary policy tightening of major central banks more uncertain, and it also increases the risk of volatility of global financial markets and capital flows. China-United States relationships and international geopolitical situations also warrant attention,” Chan cautioned.
Amid such uncertainties, the government needs to maintain financial capabilities to safeguard the safety and stability of Hong Kong’s financial system, the finance chief reiterated.