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Retailers start getting $80k cash aid today; have only until Apr 12 to apply

09 April 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Many retailers in World Wide Plaza in Central have applied for the $80k cash assistance

Retail shops that sell goods for personal or household consumption started receiving today, Apr 9, their direct cash subsidy of up to $80,000 from the government.

Those who intend to apply for the financial aid, given to those struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic, have only until Sunday, Apr 12, to do so. The vetting of applicants is expected to be completed within May.

Separately, those in the restaurant and food business may apply for a one-off cash assistance of between $80,000 and $200,000 from an anti-epidemic fund administered by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

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Among those who have applied for the retail subsidy is Joy Tan, who operates a Philippine products and general merchandise store in World Wide Plaza in Central.

Tan, along with many shop owners in the mall, have been hit hard, not just by the contagion, but also by the violent protests that wracked the city in the second half of last year, forcing customers to stay away from several hotspots, including Central.

 
Joy Tan hopes her $80k cash subsidy will come soon
Tan hopes to get the maximum cash assistance of $80,000 from the government. She says she has been given a reference number for her application, but has yet to receive the money.

Another applicant is longtime entrepreneur Ramaliel Soabas, better known as Mang Ambo, which is also the name of his iconic food outlet in World Wide.

But Soabas says he was turned down for the retail subsidy because he has already received $80k for his food factory in Kennedy Town, under the FEHD funding scheme.

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He had hoped to get separate cash assistance for each of his businesses as he pays separate rents for them, and both are cutting deep into what’s left of his income.

He says the $80,000 given him by FEHD is just enough to cover three months of back rental for his World Wide shop.
 
Mang Ambo got $80k from FEHD, but not for his tiny shop in WWide for which he pays more than $20k monthly rent

Both Tan and Soabas say many other shop owners in World Wide Plaza have applied for the retail subsidy, which is done online, and is quick and easy.

According to a press release from the government, more than 79,000 applications have been received since the retail subsidy scheme opened on March 23.

The disbursement of the subsidy to approved applicants is being done through bank transfer.

As for the FEHD-run scheme, the application started on Mar 5 and will end on May 4 at 5 pm.
Under this scheme, a one-off subsidy of $200,000 will be given to license holders of restaurants and factory canteens. Those who operate light refreshment restaurants, fresh provision shops, food factories, bakeries and dim sum shops, will get $80,000 each

Even licensed hawkers are entitled to relief of $5,000 each from the scheme.

About 5,500 licensed hawkers are expected to benefit, along with 28,000 food license holders.

Those who wish to apply for the FEHD-run funding scheme may check this website: https://www.fehd.gov.hk/english/events/Anti-epidemic_Fund/index.html

For the details of the retail subsidy scheme, click on this link: https://www.retailsubsidy.gov.hk/en/, or call 1836 111.


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