Exco to discuss paper on competition law
The Executive Council is expected to discuss a paper today for the second round of the consultation on the competition law. The document is likely to state that government would not be subject to the competition law. The administration originally planned to table the paper for discussion yesterday at the Legislative Council's economic development panel. But the schedule changed as the administration needed more time to finalise the paper. The government plans to introduce the bill into Legco in the 2008-09 session.
Electricity bill subsidy to start in September
The government is planning to credit HK$300 subsidies to household electricity accounts on the first day of the month for six months from September. A government paper submitted to the Legislative Council said the HK$1,800-per-household electricity subsidies announced in the budget would reduce bills. Any unused subsidy can be carried forward to pay charges on the same account for 21/2 years after the last credit month. The government said giving households three years to take advantage of the subsidy would not make users increase electricity consumption to use up the subsidy within six months. There are about 2.44 million residential electricity accounts, and the subsidy amounts to about HK$4.4 billion. The proposal will be discussed by the financial affairs panel on Monday.
Market rent freeze extended
The government has decided to further extend the rental freeze for all public markets managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for one year to the end of June next year. The rentals of the markets were reduced by 30 per cent in 1998 and have been frozen since then. The last rental freeze was announced by the government in March 2006, covering an extension until the end of June this year.
MPF boost for casual workers
Casual workers in the construction and catering industries whose average monthly income did not exceed HK$10,000 in the past financial year will receive a one-off HK$6,000 payment to their Mandatory Provident Fund accounts, a government paper sent to the financial affairs panel says. HK$11.5 billion has been earmarked for the payments, which will target about 1.7 million people. The panel will discuss the issue next Monday.