【2019/20 Budget】The 2019/20 Budget Summary
【Economic Prospects for 2019 and Medium-term Outlook】
- Forecasts Hong Kong GDP to rise 2 to 3 per cent in real terms in 2019.
- Forecasts 2019 CPI at 2.5 per cent.
The medium-term outlook from 2020 to 2023:
- Forecasts average growth of 3 per cent per annum.
- Slightly above the growth trend of 2.8 per cent over the past decade.
【Innovation and Technology】
Innovation and technology infrastructure:
- Sets aside $5.5 billion for the development of Cyberport phase 5 to accommodate more technology companies and start-ups.
- Provides a two-tiered enhanced tax deduction for eligible R&D expenditure of enterprises incurred after 1 April 2018.
Scientific exploration and academic research in universities:
- Sets aside $16 billion for universities to enhance or refurbish campus facilities, in particular, those for R&D.
- Deploys $500 million to implement the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme in the coming three school years, and
- each secondary school will be granted $1 million each.
- Launches the $2 billion Re-industrialisation Funding Scheme in 2019 to facilitate more manufacturers to set up operations in Hong Kong.
【Financial Services Industry】
- To issue virtual banking licences shortly. Banks will then implement the Open Application Programming Interface functions in phases.
Faster Payment System (FPS):
- Promotes the use of Faster Payment System for payment of government taxes, rates and water charges.
- Issues the first batch of government green bonds to promote the development of green finance.
- Provides tax exemption for different types of onshore and offshore funds that meet certain conditions from 1 April this year.
Stock and bond market:
- Provides a $400 million seed capital for the Financial Reporting Council, enabling the waives of levy in the first two years under the new regulatory regime.
- Provides tax concessions for marine insurance and underwriting of speciality risks, and facilitate them to issue insurance-linked securities
【Citizen's Burden Support】
Salaries tax and tax under personal assessment:
- Reduces salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for 2018-19 by 75％ subject to a ceiling of $20,000, benefiting 1.91 million taxpayers.
- Reduces profits tax for 2018-19 by 75％, subject to a ceiling of $20,000, benefiting 145 thousand taxpayers.
- Waives rates for 4 quarters of 2019-20, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter for each rateable property, benefiting 3.29 million properties.
Social allowance and subsidy:
- Provides an extra one month allowance to recipients of CSSA, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance or Disability Allowance
- Applies similar arrangements to Working Family Allowance and Work Incentive Transport Subsidy, involving an additional expenditure of about $149 million.
- Provides a one-off grant of $2,500 to each student in need, involving an expenditure of about $890 million
- Pays the examination fees for school candidates sitting for the 2020 Hong Kong DSE Examination, involving an expenditure of about $160 million
Reporting by Felix Tam.
《The Young Financial Post 新報人財經》