The local government introduced the central government’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) Outline Development Plan to the Central District Social Services Consultative Committee on Wednesday, with the aim of encouraging local people to familiarise themselves with the 11-city conurbation project.
A regular closed-door meeting of the government-appointed committee was held Wednesday afternoon at the Patane Activity Centre in the Inner Harbour district about Macau’s position in the GBA. Media representatives were allowed to attend the first few minutes of the meeting.
Three representatives of the committee spoke to reporters after the meeting.
Deputy Convener Chan Hio Peng noted that the central government released the outline development plan for the Guangdong- Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in February this year. Officials from the government’s Policy Research and Regional Development Bureau (DSEDPR) on Wednesday briefed his committee on the differences between the local Greater Bay Area and the world’s three other main bay areas, as the GBA is the only one that is using three different currencies, policies and laws, Chan added.
GBA consists of nine cities in Guangdong province and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. The GBA comprises three different jurisdictions (Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau), three separate customs territories (mainland, Hong Kong and Macau) and three different currencies (yuan, Hong Kong dollar and pataca).
The world’s three other main bay areas are the San Francisco Bay Area, New York Bay and Tokyo Bay.
Chan pointed out that Macau plays a crucial role in the GBA’s progress through its ‘one centre, one platform’ position, adding that the development plan offers many opportunities for the city. However, Macau is small – just 32.9 square kilometres – and lacks human resources, which limits its development, and a solution needs to be found, according to Chan.
According to the GBA Outline Development Plan, Macau will further develop its role as a business service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries and as a world centre of tourism and leisure, with the aim of transforming the GBA into a world-class travel destination.
Chan noted that Macau as a GBA member city will also focus on further developing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), new technologies and a marine tourism industry, as well as special financial products and services.
Meanwhile, Chan underlined that some committee members voiced their concerns during the meeting about Macau’s integration into the GBA, such as in education, medical care, transport, and livelihood issues. For example, Chan pointed out that Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau have their own public transport travel cards, and he suggested that officials from the three jurisdictions should cooperate by interconnecting public services for the convenience of the public.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Chan also suggested that the local government strengthen the promotion of the GBA project among local citizens, such as by developing a specific website, in order to increase the public’s awareness of the development plan.