Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po (center), Government Chief Information Officer Victor Lam (left), and the head of budget and tax policy unit of the Financial Secretary's Office Jessie Wong pose for photos at a press conference on details of the Consumption Voucher Scheme at the Central Government Offices, Tamar, Hong Kong, June 18, 2021. (CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG - Registration for the much-awaited HK$5,000 (US$644) in electronic consumption vouchers is set to open on July 4 at the earliest and the first installment of vouchers will be given out from Aug 1, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Friday.
Permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 and over are eligible for the scheme, with vouchers distributed via four stored-valued platforms - Octopus, AlipayHK, WeChat Pay HK and Tap & Go, Chan told a media briefing.
Chan projected there to be nearly 7.2 million eligible residents, which will cost the Hong Kong government an estimated HK$36 billion, with HK$600 million covering administrative expenses.
The registration period, set to run from July 4 to Aug 14, will require residents to use their Hong Kong identity cards or the government’s iAM Smart app to apply for the scheme online or through printed application forms.
People who have completed the electronic registration by July 17 will get the first disbursement on Aug 1 after the registrants’ eligibility is confirmed.
“For people using Octopus cards - depending on the date of registration - if the registration is done within the first two weeks, the first payment (of HK$2,000) will be on Aug 1 and the second payment (of HK$2,000) will be on Oct 1,” Chan said.
The registrants will receive the remaining HK$1,000 if their cumulative totals have reached HK$4,000 within the specified period from the disbursement of the first consumption voucher.
Those who choose to receive the vouchers through AlipayHK, Tap & Go or WeChat Pay HK will get HK$2,000 first and HK$3,000 two months later.
The vouchers should be used at local retail, catering and service outlets or their online platforms, but cannot be used on government or public utility payments, study fees, financial products or donations.
The online voucher scheme was unveiled by Chan in his annual budget address in February this year to encourage local spending, stimulate the pandemic-ravaged economy and boost the battered retail industry.
“The whole idea is to give the people of Hong Kong these vouchers for them to spend so as to also revive our economy. That is why we really want the recipients of these electronic consumption vouchers to spend the vouchers,” Chan said on Friday.
The scheme will also help local small-and-medium merchants explore potential business opportunities by adopting electronic payments, he added.
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