Macau, China, 16 Nov – Raising the living standards of Macau residents is top of the government’s agenda in the coming year, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said in 2012 Policy Address presented to lawmakers Tuesday.
Chui unveiled a string of measures to fight rising inflation in his address, including a further injection of 6,000 patacas into the individual central savings account of each eligible Macau citizen and a cash handout of 7,000 patacas to all Macau permanent residents. Non-permanent residents would get 4,200 patacas.
For senior citizens, the annual old-age allowance will be increased to 6,000 patacas while the monthly pension will be raised to 2,000 patacas. This means that in the coming year, each senior citizen will receive a total of 45,000 patacas from the government.
The government will draw up a population policy based on detailed studies to tackle Macau ’s aging population, Chui said.
Past initiatives to help low-income families, such as rent waiver for social housing tenants and housing subsidies for families waiting for public housing, would continue next year.
Meanwhile, the minimum subsistence index and the financial allowance for low-income, full-time employees will be raised to 3,200 patacas and 4,400 patacas per month respectively.
Business owners and employees will continue to enjoy tax cuts and waivers outlined in the previous policy address.
To further support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the upper loan limit of the SME Assistance Scheme will be increased to 600,000 patacas.
On the “Homes for All” policy, Chui promised to relax the income ceiling of subsidised home-ownership scheme applicants, which would make 80 percent of Macau households qualify for the scheme.
He also told lawmakers that the government would plan a “reserve” of 6,300 public housing units in addition to the 19,000 public housing units to be completed by the end of 2012.
Chui addressed the issue of sustainable economic development by pledging to facilitate the growth of integrated tourism and boost regional co-operation.
An assessment committee for Macau investments in Hengqin Island will be set up to help local enterprises open businesses in the island’s Guangdong-Macau Industrial Park .
Reviewing Macau ’s political development will be another major task of the government in 2012, he said.
The government will launch a public consultation next year on whether to amend and – if so how to change – the method for the formation of the Fifth Legislative Assembly in 2013, and the selection of the Fourth Chief Executive in 2014, in accordance with the Macau Basic Law.
Speaking at a press conference after delivering his policy address, Chui said that the government had no preference in the revision of the methods of the two elections.
He would soon write to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing to confirm the necessary procedures.
Chui said the government would step up relevant studies of Macau ’s middle class to take into account their concerns when formulating public policies.
Though the Government expected the monthly gaming revenue next year to exceed 20 billion patacas, it would take a cautious approach in managing public finance.
He also said that the government would continue the renewal of urban areas in order to enhance the standard of the environment and hygiene of the older districts.(MacauNews/Politics)