JUDGING BY THE relatively low take-up rate, the government's emergency loan scheme for Sars-hit businesses seems to offer limited benefit for those battling plunging profits and bankruptcy warnings. Only certain businesses - retail, restaurants, karaoke lounges and cinemas - can apply, leaving other companies abandoned. In addition, the funds are available for expenses such as wages, but not for what is often the second biggest headache for businesses, rents. Even for those that have made an application, there are complaints that the procedures are time-consuming and complicated. The Informer spoke to those entitled and those who are not, to get their views. Dominique Chasset, director, Hong Kong Institute of Languages: 'We have lost 70 to 80 per cent of our business, but we kept our staff. Fortunately we had personal savings. We had hardly any revenue for the month of April, yet we still have overheads to pay. 'The landlord has been very kind, but it's still not enough because we have a lot of other overheads. We haven't been able to pay all our bills - we haven't paid the landlord yet even though he lowered the rent - because we used all our own money for staff wages. 'When we see that the government is going to help karaoke bars and not schools, we think this is preposterous. It seems that karaoke bars are more important to the government than schools like us that have been in operation for more than 18 years, providing the best service we could, and that are dedicated to Hong Kong. We feel infuriated and let-down. When it comes to this we do not exist.' Herbert Hui Ho-ming, of the government-appointed small and medium-sized enterprises committee: 'I think one has to strike a balance between making sure this government-led initiative is careful with the process to ensure there aren't abuses and having to speed things along. We need to concentrate on making sure we are efficient in processing, at the same time we have to look closely to prevent someone abusing it. 'There's a lot of concern that there mustn't be a massive amount of red tape. It's very clear in this sort of market that you have to be careful that there isn't an abuse situation. 'You have to take into account that this is a government initiative. It needs careful consideration before it's open to every aspect of business. I agree with the government's position to test the waters first and then slowly expand. They have to watch the results, then if they are good maybe we can have a wider net.' Ronnie Ho Pak-ting, managing director of Jetour Holiday travel agency and acting chairman of the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council: 'From my point of view and the point of view of the industry, it doesn't seem like many people will apply for the loan. Practically and realistically, they would rather cut staff in an almost stagnant business situation than offer a personal guarantee and increase the personal liability of the owner. 'It doesn't really benefit the travel agent on the cutting costs issue. We feel the difficult market situation will drag on for another three months, it might be more. 'In order to survive individual companies need to depend on reserves. The offer has a maximum of half a million dollars. Half a million for a middle-sized travel agency like mine isn't enough for one month's pay load, so this can only benefit small-sized agencies with a team of around 10 people. Those agencies might also suffer a drastic downturn of business and worry about financial liability.' Phyllis Kwong Ka-yin, deputy chairwoman of the Hong Kong Association of International Co-operation of Small and Medium Enterprises: 'I don't know any businesses from the association that have applied. Definitely (private) schools should be able to apply because the impact of Sars is wider. 'Apart from those businesses that sell face masks, all industries are affected. 'Kindergartens and trading companies in particular and those involved in international trade are hard hit. 'It's difficult to list a full list of affected industries because it's across the board, in particular those that involve face-to-face interaction with customers. Hong Kong is a service-based industry, so not many services can be provided through the Internet. 'The Fund is restrictive because it can be used only in payment of wages and not for payment of rent, but it helps because wages are a big part of overheads for service industries which are people-intensive.' Karen Boyd, group manager, The Woodland Group of Pre-Schools: 'We are in a situation where we don't really fit into anybody's camp because we are privately funded. 'Although the government has been very good about putting out information about Sars, in relation to the money side, there's no other support. 'The government hasn't taken into consideration the private tuition-type situation. Sars is unprecedented. Nothing like this has happened in Hong Kong, so it's hard to measure the rights and wrongs. We'll learn them in hindsight.'