Macau, China, 24 April – The Macau government plans to spend US$421 million (3.37 billion patacas) on its plan to distribute subsidies and health coupons to the population as a way of helping residents deal with the world financial crisis, officials said Thursday.
A statement issued by the Government Information Bureau said that the government estimated it would spend US$360 million (2.886 billion patacas) by giving 6,000 patacas (US$750) to each permanent resident, that is residents that have lived in Macau for over seven consecutive years, or a total of 481,000 people.
The government also said it would spend a further US$30 million (241 million patacas) to provide 3,600 patacas (US$450) to each non-permanent resident, or those that have a right to reside in the territory but have not yet lived there for seven consecutive years, a measure that will benefit 66,000 people.
As well as directly distributing the subsidy, the Macau government will later apply a further 240 million patacas (US$30 million) to providing – to permanent residents only – a health coupon for health expenses at private institutions.
The spokesman for the Executive Council of the Macau government, Tong Chi Kin said that in order to meet the requirements of the “Plan for Pecuniary Payments in Economic Development 2009” and the plan to provide health coupons it is necessary to review the General Budget for 2009, transferring an amount of US$421 million from the surplus from previous years.
In 2008 the Macau government granted each permanent and non-permanent resident US$625 (5,000 patacas) and US$375 (3,000 patacas), respectively, which helped support over a half a million residents during the worldwide economic crisis that also affected Macau.
The Government of Macau in 2008 conceded a total of around US$400 million (3.2 billion patacas) to financially aid its population.
The Chief Executive of Macau, Edmund Ho Hau Wah, said a week ago that he expects the distribution of the funds to start in May.