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Budget Speech

Supporting Enterprises

40. For easing the operating pressure of businesses, I propose:

(a) reducing profits tax for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100 per cent, subject to a ceiling of $6,000.  The reduction will be reflected in the final tax payable for the year of assessment 2022/23.  This measure will benefit 134 000 businesses and reduce government revenue by $720 million;
(b) providing rates concession for non‑domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023‑24, subject to a ceiling of $1,000 per quarter for each rateable property.  This measure is estimated to involve 430 000 non‑domestic properties and reduce government revenue by $740 million; and
(c) starting from July 2023, granting 50 per cent rental or fee concession to eligible tenants of government premises and eligible short‑term tenancies and waivers under the Lands Department for six months until end‑2023.  This measure will reduce government revenue by approximately $1 billion.

41. The Government has been enhancing the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS) continuously over the years to meet the financing needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during economic downturns.  As at end‑2022, loans amounting to more than $230 billion have been approved under the SFGS, benefiting over 53 000 enterprises.  As the Hong Kong economy is picking up steadily this year, it is expected that commercial financing will gradually return to be adjusted by the market.  That said, it takes time for SMEs to consolidate their strengths on the way to recovery.  I have, therefore, decided to extend the application period of all guarantee products under the SFGS from end‑June 2023 to end‑March 2024, thus giving SMEs more room to adjust and secure a firm footing.

42. To support cross‑boundary passenger transport and the tourism industry, the Government will, drawing on the experience in implementing the above SFGS, launch new schemes to offer fully guaranteed loans for eligible passenger transport operators and licensed travel agents.  It is estimated that the above schemes will involve a total loan guarantee amount of about $2.7 billion.  Details of the schemes, which is expected to be launched within April this year, will be announced in due course.  The Government will also extend the Travel Agents Incentive Scheme, which is due to expire by end‑March 2023, for three months, with a view to facilitating the speedy recovery of the industry.  In addition, the Government will inject $30 million into the Information Technology Development Matching Fund Scheme for Travel Agents, with the aim of encouraging the industry to undergo upgrade and transformation by making use of technology.



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