News Programme | Hong Kong Today(2023-02-23) - RTHK
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Hong Kong Today
Hong Kong Today
RTHK's morning news programme. Weekdays 6:30 - 8:00
Janice Wong and Samantha Butler


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Selected audio segments:
FS unveils 'moderately liberal' budget blueprint  Listenfacebook
There has been mixed reaction to the government doling out another round of consumptions vouchers, as announced in Wednesday's budget by the Financial Secretary Paul Chan. Some welfare groups called for more targeted measures to help the needy, while others said e-vouchers would boost local spending. It was Chan's first budget since Hong Kong emerged from the three-year pandemic, and one that he described as a moderately liberal fiscal stance. He said relief measures were intended to reduce the economic burden on the public although they were much less than those unveiled last year. Natale Ching reports:
Sweetener cut back; e-vouchers halved  Listenfacebook
The Financial Secretary announced a range of relief measures in his budget, though help for taxpayers was scaled back from previous years. There will be cuts in salaries and profits tax up to a ceiling of $6,000, and a $1,000 rates concession for homeowners and commercial properties for the first two quarters of the coming financial year. The child tax allowance is being raised by $10,000 to $130,000 and households will again enjoy a $1,000 electricity subsidy. Exam fees will be waived, the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme will be extended for six months and CSSA recipients will be given an extra half a month's pay. Stanley Ho, a tax partner with KPMG China, says he estimates the $5,000 consumption vouchers will boost the city's GDP by 0.7 percent. He also told Ada Au that the timeline for the issuing of the handout was strategically planned:
Taxation Institute wants further tax breaks  Listenfacebook
The president of the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong welcomed Chan's 'moderately liberal' budget. Carol Liu said she agreed with having one-off smaller scale measures to support enterprises and the public as the city recovered from the pandemic. She said issuing a further round of electronic consumption vouchers also helped promote the use of e-payment, which was a future business trend. But she told Vicky Wong that the institute would like to see further tax breaks:
FS announces second-highest budget deficit  Listenfacebook
Paul Chan forecast a budget deficit for this financial year of just under $140 billion which would be the second-biggest ever recorded. It would leave Hong Kong's fiscal reserves at just over $817 billion by the end of March, enough to cover spending for just over a year. But as Mike Weeks reports, the Financial Secretary outlined plans to return government finances to the black in the next five years:
Professor says GDP forecast 'too optimistic'  Listenfacebook
A business school professor says Paul Chan's GDP growth forecast of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent is too optimistic. Simon Lee, a senior lecturer at the Chinese University Business School, told Vanessa Cheng that with a worse-than-expected fiscal deficit, the government should seek balanced sources of revenue:
Warning over inflation amidst recovery  Listenfacebook
The Financial Secretary says he expects Hong Kong's economy to visibly rebound this year as it welcomes back tourists and makes the most of accelerating growth on the mainland. But Paul Chan also cautioned that inflation was likely to get significantly higher in the year ahead. Wendy Wong reports:
Govt looks to Jockey Club to boost coffers  Listenfacebook
As a way to increase revenue in the short term, Paul Chan has announced that the Jockey Club will pay a $12 billion levy on its football gambling earnings over the next five years. The Club said it understood the rationale behind the increase, while calling for lower rates in the long run. The Financial Secretary, for his part, said the Jockey Club must decide for itself how to pay it. Maggie Ho reports:
Tax cuts for first-time homebuyers  Listenfacebook
On housing, Paul Chan says market-cooling measures are to remain in place. But the Financial Secretary also announced stamp duty adjustments to benefit first-time homebuyers. Tom McAlinden reports:
150 events to promote 'Happy Hong Kong'  Listenfacebook
The budget has announced millions will be injected into attracting tourists and boosting Hong Kong's image, by staging and supporting mega events and holding conventions and exhibitions. Paul Chan said the government would soon launch its "Happy Hong Kong" campaign to stimulate local consumption by staging carnivals and fairs. These would include the launch of a gourmet marketplace - with large-scale food fairs for locals and visitors - as well as a sea and land carnival, using Victoria Harbour as a stage. A member of the government's taskforce to promote and brand Hong Kong says Paul Chan's budget is the most comprehensive one that he has ever put together. Allan Zeman, chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group, told Ben Tse that there were more than 150 events planned this year:
Govt considers AI supercomputing centre  Listenfacebook
The government will be examining whether it is feasible to develop an artificial intelligence supercomputing centre in Hong Kong. In his budget, the Financial Secretary announced $3 billion in new funding to boost technological research, including in AI. Robert Kemp reports:
Top diplomat Wang Yi meets Putin  Listenfacebook
Russian president Vladimir Putin has told top diplomat Wang Yi that cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is vital in stabilising the international situation. Their meeting comes after Wang earlier met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and told him that he expected new agreements to be struck during his visit to Moscow. Aaron Tam reports:
Xi Jinping calls for tech self-reliance  Listenfacebook
China must resolve issues in key technological fields. That was the message President Xi Jinping has impressed upon the Communist Party Politburo as the country deals with increasing external controls on advanced technology. Natale Ching reports:
Two people killed in Inner Mongolia mine collapse  Listenfacebook
Mainland state media say at least two people died and more than 50 are missing, after an apparent collapse at a coal mine in northern Inner Mongolia. Broadcaster CCTV said a collapse occurred at a mine in the western part of the Alxa League region on Wednesday afternoon, with other outlets and government agencies describing it as a "landslide". Andrew Chworowsky reports:
Public memorial takes place for Uncle Ray  Listenfacebook
Reinaldo Maria Cordeiro, RTHK's beloved late night DJ known fondly as "Uncle Ray", will be laid to rest on Thursday. Uncle Ray graced Hong Kong’s airwaves for more than 70 years and died last month at the age of 98. The public can pay tribute at the Hong Kong Funeral Home from 4 to 6pm and there will be a memorial service from 6 to 9pm. A private funeral will take place on Friday at St Joseph’s Cathedral. Annemarie Evans looks at the legacy Uncle Ray left behind, in the city where he was born in 1924: