Chief Executive (CE) Fernando Chui Sai On said Wednesday that if – as generally expected – the government will again enjoy a budget surplus, its wealth-sharing programme – popularly known as cash handout – will continue next year since he wants to “share the fruits of economic growth” with the city’s residents.
Chui also said he will deliver two policy addresses next year.
This year about 590,000 permanent residents were entitled to receive 9,000 patacas each, irrespective of age, place of birth and nationality, while 61,000 temporary residents were entitled to receive 5,400 patacas each, costing the Treasury about 5.65 billion patacas, or 7.3 percent of the government’s budgeted expenditure of 77.6 billion patacas.
The payouts started in July. The annual wealth-sharing scheme began in 2008. The handouts have gradually been raised since then.
The 2014 budget totalling 153.6 billion patacas included a surplus of 76 billion patacas.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Institute for Tourism Studies’ (IFT) graduation ceremony at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion, Chui said his policy address in November will be a wrap-up of his work over the last five years, while he will give two policy addresses next year, one in the first half of the year and the other in November.
Customarily, the chief executive delivers just one policy address at the Legislative Assembly (AL) per year
The re-elected chief executive also said his government would propose its 2015 budget in the first quarter of next year. “I said during the election campaign we hope the budget will remain the same rather than drastically increasing it,” said Chui.
Customarily, the government presents its annual budget to the legislature for debate and vote every November. The change in schedule is due to the fact that Chui’s new cabinet of five policy secretaries will start working only at the end of this year.
When asked by reporters about his new cabinet, Chui said he was “still working on it.”
According to previous media reports, at least two of his three policy secretaries – Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai Man and Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen – will retire at the end of his current term. Both have been in their posts since the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) on December 20, 1999.
Chui also said his government had been closely monitoring Macau’s economic development over the last few months, noting a drop in the city’s gross gaming revenue.
Chui said he believed, however, that the tourism industry will not be gravely affected by the revenue drop as the number of tourists coming to Macau still remains high.
Chui’s second five-year term will begin on December 20.(macaunews/macaupost)