LettersHong Kong Covid fourth wave subsidies: plenty of paperwork but where is the money?
- Four rounds of subsidies have not made the government more efficient in processing applications, as each round is an exercise in frustration and repetition
Each phase is an exercise in starting from the beginning with an application that must be submitted by the government-imposed deadline. If the application is misplaced in the tens of thousands of pieces of paper the relevant government department must process, then bad luck if you miss the deadline.
You would think there would be some discretion exercised for cases that had documents misplaced. However, as the officers are following a policy document for each process and the document does not say there is discretion allowed, that is not the case. Unfortunately, this is how the Hong Kong government operates.
Looking at the process for a restaurant or bar, there are potentially three different subsidies and processes. You can apply online for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) catering subdivision; post a downloaded application for the FEHD liquor licence; or, if you have applied for a dance endorsement, you tick a box on the FEHD catering subsidy application. Each phase and process blindly follows the policy statement, and as of yet no subsidy money has arrived.
David Law, Mid-Levels