Budget Address 2021: Hong Kong sees 2021 positive GDP growth at 3.5% - 5.5%
- By: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿、Zhou Yichen Gloria 周奕辰Edited by: Alison Leung
Hong Kong's Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his budget speech on Wednesday that the city’s economy is expected to return to positive growth this year after experiencing two consecutive years of recession.
Hong Kong's economy will face significant challenges in the first half amid COVID-19 while the economy is expected to recover in the second half on a rebound in the global economy, Chan said. He forecasts the economy to grow by 3.5-5.5% in real-term this year on back of the stimulus effect of the fiscal measures.
But Chan also said, "The progress of economic recovery will hinge on the development of the epidemic." From 2022 to 2025, he expected the city's economy will grow by an average of 3.3% per annum in real terms, with the underlying inflation rate forecasted to average 2%.
The Financial Secretary expected the government to post a budget deficit of HK$101.6 billion in 2021/22, accounting for 3.6% of GDP due to the relief measures and the continued increase in recurrent expenditure.
The government also announced several one-off measures including cutting personal salaries tax and personal assessment tax by 100% with a ceiling of HK$10,000. Enterprises will also be eligible for 100% reduced profits tax with a limit of HK$10,000.
Unemployed citizens can apply for a government-backed personal loan capped at HK$80,000 at an interest of 1% per year, said Chan.
In addition, to stimulate domestic consumption, every Hong Kong permanent resident and new arrivals aged 18 or above will receive HK$5,000 electronic consumption vouchers, which will involve about 7.2 million people with a total of HK$36 billion.
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