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Sunday, February 23, 2020, 16:18
Govt sets up committee to supervise HK$30b relief fund
By Willa Wu
Sunday, February 23, 2020, 16:18 By Willa Wu

A woman and her child wearing facemasks look out at Victoria Harbour from the Star Ferry in Hong Kong on Feb 22, 2020. (VIVEK PRAKASH / AFP)

The Hong Kong government will establish a special committee next week to supervise the disbursement of the HK$30 billion fund for the relief of small businesses and underprivileged individuals hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, said Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung in his weekly blog.

Around HK$17b of the fund will be allocated to hard-hit individuals and firms while HK$10b will be budgeted for the upgrade of govt’s capability to combat the virus

Cheung said he will chair the committee, whose major aim is to simplify the application process so that assistance can be dispensed without unnecessary delays. 

According to Cheung, around HK$17 billion of the fund will be allocated to hard-hit individuals and businesses in the retail, catering, transport, culture and tourism sectors while HK$10 billion will be budgeted for the upgrade of government’s capability to combat the virus. The remaining portion will be retained for emergency use. 

ALSO READ: HK$30b relief fund gets an overwhelming nod

The fund, which covers 24 items, was ratified by an overwhelming majority of the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee on Friday. 

Cheung said that the government will continue to closely monitor the spread of the epidemic while listening attentively to experts’ advise to make necessary decision without hesitation. 

Dropping a hint on the January 26 budget speech, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his weekly blog that the key task for the government to weather the current economic woes is to support enterprises and protect employment. 

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