Development bank proposed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 December, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong should set up a development bank, a political party has proposed. Legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, suggested the government inject HK$10 billion into establishing the bank.

'It would not compete with private banks, but would take deposits from citizens and extend loans to help small and medium enterprises,' he said.

This could be done by legislating to create a new bank, government acquisition of an existing small bank or adding banking functions to post offices, Mr Fung said.

In a five-page proposal for reviving the economy released yesterday, the party also urged the government to set up a large social enterprise to co-ordinate jobs for existing social enterprises in the city. This would need an investment of HK$500 million.

Mr Fung said many social enterprises were too small to take up projects, and combining their forces would help them to survive. He said these were long-term measures to sustain the availability of jobs.

Meanwhile, Chum Tak-shing, the party's district councillor in Sham Shui Po, yesterday led tenants to meet representatives of shopping centre owner The Link Reit. The group asked The Link Reit to cut rents and attract more shoppers.

'The business of some shopkeepers has dropped as much as 50 per cent recently amid the economic downturn. Therefore, we hope The Link Reit can offer them some relief measures,' Mr Chum said.

He said it could consider cutting rents by 30 per cent to 50 per cent, or waiving them for a short period.

The Link Reit said last week that it would invest HK$10 million in promotional programmes over the next few months to stimulate business at its malls, and another HK$1.1 billion in projects over the next three years that would create several thousand construction jobs.