Victoria Harbor and Central Financial District, Hong Kong, China.
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Hong Kong will give more handouts to consumers to support the city’s recovery from a prolonged economic downturn induced by Covid-19 restrictions, Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced in the 2023/24 budget on Wednesday.
The global financial hub will issue vouchers worth HK$5,000 ($637) per person to all adults this year, half the amount issued in 2022 as Chan attempts to dial down fiscal spending with an eye on the city’s coffers.
Chan told legislators the city was at the beginning of an economic recovery, no longer shackled by stringent COVID measures that have isolated it from the rest of the world.
“I believe that Hong Kong’s economy will visibly recover this year, and I remain positive,” Chan said.
“However, the economic recovery is still in its initial stage, and there is a need for our people and businesses to regain vigour.”
Hong Kong counts on increased cross-border business with mainland China, which has also given up enforcing Covid rules.
The city had spent more than HK$600 billion ($76.44 billion) on various pandemic relief programs for the past three years, forcing it to run rare budget deficits.