The budget speech will be delivered on 22 Feb 2017, however unknown to most, there was a pre-amble in the form of a consultation exercise by the HK government to solicit proposals and views from the public on the direction/focus of the budget. Searchable proposals were submitted by large accounting firms, several chambers of commerce and the HKICPA – thrilling reading material if you are interested (see the links below). For those of you who prefer a lighter read, I found two interesting elements from the proposals urging the HK government to:
- Implement the initiative announced in the 2016/17 budget to transform HK into a “smart city”
- Reduce tax for both companies and individuals
According to PwC, they expect the fiscal reserves of the HKSAR government “will amount to HK$913 billion by the end of March 2017, equivalent to 23 months of total Government expenditure”. That’s a nice amount to have for a rainy day. There’s a lot that could be done with that kind of financial backing in our city – along from welcome tax relief and random initiatives that do not correlate with what SMEs actually need to grow, innovate and flourish, it should provide sufficient confidence to our government for bold, impactful changes to be made in areas including:
- Banking/payments infrastructure for SME commerce
- Attracting and retaining investment in HK
- Incentivise local “grass-roots” innovation to encourage positive social and community impact
Let’s see what emerges later this month.