Editorial : Simplifying the electronic consumption voucher scheme

【明報專訊】The government has proposed to issue electronic consumption vouchers, leading to a myriad of discussions from different sectors. Some people think that there are many restrictions on using the vouchers, while some are concerned about how the scheme will be operated in practice. The government sees electronic consumption vouchers as a countercyclical measure, with the stimulation of the local market being its primary goal. As for the public, they generally consider them a "sweetener" or relief measure. Such different perspectives will naturally lead to different understanding, and they are the reason that the public are questioning why the government is not issuing cash handouts directly. The government has a huge fiscal deficit. It has to make good use of resources amid the pandemic and make sure that they will achieve the greatest benefits. However, the more precise a measure, the easier for it to become overly complicated and problematic. Whether a measure is good or bad is often not determined by the intention, but by how it is implemented in practice. Even if the electronic consumption voucher scheme is paved with good intentions, it can become a bad policy if the arrangements are ill-thought-out. The authorities must try to simplify the scheme so that it will not backfire.