Lawmaker-cum-activist Sulu Sou Ka Hou, a vice-president of the non-establishment New Macau Association (NMA), said on Wednesday that he submitted a bill on the disclosure of accounts by publicly subsidised associations to the Legislative Assembly (AL) last week, proposing a number of amendments to current legislation on the matter.
Sou made the remarks during a press conference at the association’s office in Rua do Tarrafeiro.
According to an NMA statement, “The bill proposes to compel any local association receiving a public subsidy that exceeds the amount set by the chief executive to publish its detailed accounts so that the public can monitor the use of public funds”.
The statement pointed out that the government’s revenue has fallen sharply due to the novel coronavirus epidemic and this year the city is experiencing its first fiscal deficit since the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in 1999. The statement predicted that the government would need to take measures next year to limit expenses.
Sou said that he had noticed that public entities are granting lots of subsidies to community associations every year. He said the objective of his bill was to make the granting of subsidies to associations more open and transparent through the public monitoring of their accounts.
Furthermore, Sou deplored the fact that while Executive Order No. 54/GM/97 stipulates that associations should submit a report within 30 days of the date of their subsidised activities, the reports have never been made public so that they could be monitored by the public. Sou said that consequently, the public had no way of knowing if the subsidies were used properly.
Sou’s bill proposes that the subsidised associations are required to publish their detailed accounts in the local press.
The bill also proposes that the Office for the Planning of the Supervision of the Public Assets of the MSAR (GPSAP) be responsible for the supervision of subsidies that associations received from the government, as well as the administrative penalties for violating the regulations concerned.