Hong Kong sets up $1,800 cash gift for all residents, how does Singapore compare? - Alvinology

Hong Kong sets up $1,800 cash gift for all residents, how does Singapore compare?

After the triple whammy that’s seen the once-bustling and wealthy financial hub Hong Kong plunged into a recession, their government has pledged to give every citizen 18 years old and above roughly $1,800 (USD 1,200) to cope with the current economic woes, according to the BBC.

What brought Hong Kong to this point?

After months of a relentless US-China trade war, political unrest due to country-wide protests, and the COVID-19 infections sweeping across Asia, Hong Kong has a recession to show, but its officials say that they can handle it–and that they’ve saved enough money to cope with it.

Whether this gives confidence or trust back into a Beijing-backed government is yet to be seen, but Hong Kong officials insist that there is no political motive or agenda behind the USD 120 billion care package included in the unveiling of its annual budget.

How much is each Hong Kong citizen going to receive?

The new measures involve providing a cash gift of $1,800 (HKD 10,000) to every resident 18 years old and above. The government also factored in free rent for indigents, tax breaks and subsidies for SMEs, rebates on property taxes, and further payouts to less fortunate families.

How does Singapore compare?

While Singapore has not been directly affected by the US-China trade war as well as the protests, the country sure has felt the presence of one of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. Part of the budget unveiled in February 2020 involved relief packages for Singaporeans similar to Hong Kong’s measures.

Singaporeans 21 years old and above would be entitled to a one-off cash payout of at most $300. Parents who have at least one Singaporean child below 20 years old this year would get an extra $100.

A report from The Straits Times said that, “Those with an assessable in-come of up to $28,000 for the 2019 year of assessment will get $300. Those who earn between $28,001 and $100,000 will get $200, and those earning over $100,000 or who own more than one property will get $100.”

What other relief measures are there for Singaporeans?

Aside from payouts, elderly Singaporeans or any citizen above 50 years old would receive additional $100 on their PAssion cards.

HDB owners can expect more help. The same report said, “The Government will also extend the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebate, of between 1.5 and 3.5 months, for another year.”

Not as much as Hong Kong, but we weren’t hit with a trade war, city lockdowns, or protests either.

But Singaporeans and business have to deal with forced quarantine and leave of absence for Chinese work pass holders.

According to government bulletins, to alleviate the burden on employers who have to pay wages to workers in forced quarantine or LOA periods, a payout of at most $100 a day to subsidize costs for lost manpower.

Hong Kong can afford it

Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong allows publication about its fiscal reserves, and with more than 1 trillion HKD saved up exactly for this type of situation. Hong Kong officials said that they are prepared and that the country can handle the payouts amid the current economic woes.

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