FS: No personal Octopus needed for voucher scheme - RTHK
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FS: No personal Octopus needed for voucher scheme

2021-02-26 HKT 09:20
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  • FS: No personal Octopus needed for voucher scheme
Vicky Wong reports
Financial Secretary Paul Chan has said the government is still working on the details of its HK$5,000 per head voucher scheme, including working with different payment providers, but he's assured people they won't require a personalised Octopus card.

Chan took questions from listeners on a special RTHK Radio 3 phone-in on Friday morning, two days after delivering his annual budget.

He faced questions on a range of matters, from his decision to increase stamp duty on share trading to funding for playgrounds and the taxation of spirits, but the voucher scheme was the subject of most questions.

Chan said the government was working with different electronic payment providers on the voucher scheme. But when host Hugh Chiverton asked him whether the handout would require personalised Octopus cards, he said: "Not really. It is not the idea."

"Last year when people registered for the cash payout scheme we have set up a system, so we are going to utilise that particular system to assist in the process. The implementation details will be announced later."

The financial secretary said he was listening to the views of people who argued that the scheme should pay out in cash rather than vouchers, but noted that some people made the opposite argument when the government gave a HK$10,000 handout last year.

One caller, Ling, criticised Chan for giving out the vouchers in five installments, arguing that if people were given money now, when travel is off-limits, they would spend it immediately.

She said a HK$318 million plan to to revamp dozens of football pitches was a poor use of money at a time when people and businesses were struggling to survive.

"Immediately rebate HK$10,000 for everyone and they will spend it within a month! Don't do something ... for example the football pitches ... no need to make the football pitches better. People are in deep desperation," she told him.