Voucher scheme monitored

The Government will continue to monitor the implementation of the Consumption Voucher Scheme to ensure that it operates smoothly, Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said today.   He made the remarks when answering questions from lawmakers at a Legislative Council meeting.   The scheme received about 6.9 million registrations, with the first voucher of $2,000 disbursed on August 1 and September 1 to a total of about 6.3 million eligible people.   Mr Hui noted that the consumption vouchers disbursed have effectively produced a stimulating effect on the market and significantly boosted the business of merchants, adding that the community's overall response is very positive.   For the remaining 600,000 or so registrations, half of them were from ineligible people or duplicated, while the other half were not further processed due to incomplete or incorrect information provided.   More than 280,000 registrants had either provided supplementary information or corrected the information, and about 19,000 registrations could not be processed when the registration period ended.   To allow sufficient time for relevant registrants to provide supplementary information, the Government made special arrangements for them to resubmit their registrations in paper form.   Mr Hui said some registrants realised that their registrations were not successful when they failed to receive the vouchers on September 1. As some of them wanted to resubmit their registrations as soon as possible, there was a sudden influx of visitors to the scheme's secretariat in Mong Kok, resulting in a longer waiting time.   He noted the Government regretted that some senior citizens had to travel a long way to the secretariat to make their resubmissions, which reflected that there is room for improvement in the resubmission implementation, preparation and arrangements.   The treasury chief also emphasised that the Government had responded immediately to the matter by extending the special arrangement for two weeks, increasing manpower substantially and adding three service centres in Central, Tai Po and Tuen Mun to facilitate people's re-registrations.   So far, the secretariat and the three additional service centres have been running smoothly and a long waiting period is no longer necessary.   Mr Hui added that about 18,200 registrations have been resubmitted under the special arrangement as at September 14, of which about 13,000 have been processed. Relevant registrants will receive the first voucher of $2,000 on October 1 upon eligibility confirmation.
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