Lawmakers on Monday passed unanimously the outline of the outgoing government’s 2020 budget bill. The bill will now be reviewed in detail by one of the standing committees of the legislature, after which it will be submitted to an article-by-article vote in another plenary session.
Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said on Monday that the government expected its total expenditure to slightly decrease next year.
Leong made the remarks during Monday’s plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle to present the government’s 2020 budget bill.
According to the bill, the government expects total receipts of 122.7 billion patacas next year, 312 million more than this year’s budget, up 0.3 per cent.
Government expenditure next year is budgeted at 100.69 billion patacas, 2.65 billion patacas less than this year’s budget, down 2.6 per cent, according to the bill, which expects a surplus of 22 billion patacas next year.
Addressing the plenary session, Leong also said he expected the government’s revenue from direct gaming taxes to amount to 91 billion patacas next year, the same as the amount budgeted for this year.
Leong said that the expected direct gaming taxes of 91 billion patacas was based on projected gross gaming revenues of 260 billion patacas for next year.
Macau’s gross gaming revenues last year amounted to 302.85 billion patacas.
The government has customarily been conservative in its budget revenue forecasts.
The city’s gross gaming revenues during the first 10 months of this year amounted to 246.74 billion patacas, a 1.8 year-on-year decrease from the 251.38 billion patacas during the same period last year.
During Monday’s plenum, several lawmakers asked about the government’s planned spending of 1.2 billion patacas on renting property from private owners next year, a 20 per cent increase from this year’s budget.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Leong admitted that the government was spending large amounts of money on renting private property for its offices. However, he did not elaborate on what the government should do to about it.
The current government’s five-year term ends at midnight on December 19. Chief Executive – designate Ho Iat Seng and 10 other principal officials will be sworn in on December 20.