Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said on Monday that the government expects its total expenditure to be more than MOP100 billion next year, a 14.5 percent increase from this year’s budget.
It would be the first time for the government to spend over MOP100 billion in a year.
Leong made the remarks when attending a plenary session to present the government’s 2018 budget bill.
According to the bill, the government expects total receipts of MOP119.17 billion next year, MOP16.23 billion more than this year’s budget, up 15.8 percent.
Government expenditure next year is budgeted at MOP109.61 billion, MOP13.89 billion more than this year’s budget, up 14.5 percent, according to the bill.
Addressing the legislature’s hemicycle, Leong also said he expected the government’s revenue from direct gaming taxes to amount to MOP80.5 billion next year, MOP10.5 billion more than budgeted for this year, up 15 percent.
Leong said that the rise in budgeted expenditure for next year was mainly due to an increase in the government’s public investment plan (PIDDA).
According to Leong, next year’s PIDDA is budgeted at MOP21.15 billion, MOP5.89 billion more than for this year, up 38.6 percent.
The bill proposes to raise public servants’ salaries from MOP83 to MOP85 per salary point, an increase of 2.41 percent, effective from January next year, Leong said.
Public servants’ salaries were raised by 2.47 percent in January this year, from MOP81 to MOP83 per salary point.
According to Leong, the government’s expenditure on its personnel next year is budgeted at MOP22.2 billion.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Leong also said the government would submit a bill to the legislature next year on the setting-up of the government’s investment and development fund. The bill will state that the operation of the fund will be in line with the Santiago Principles, according to Leong.
According to Wikipedia, the Santiago Principles, or formally the Sovereign Wealth Funds: Generally Accepted Principles and Practices (GAPP), are designed as a common global set of 24 voluntary guidelines that assign best practices for the operations of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs).
Leong also said that the government recorded investment gains of MOP15.5 billion during the first nine months of this year from investing its financial reserves – an annualised rate of return of 4.5 percent.
The Macau Monetary Authority (AMCM) said in a statement earlier this year that the government recorded investment gains of MOP3.31 billion last year from investing its financial reserves – an annual return of 0.8 percent – as compared to the 0.7 percent recorded in 2015.
Leong also said that the government aimed for the ratio of its financial reserves to be invested by investment fund managers to 20 percent by the end of this year, with the aim of improving its investment performance.
The outline of the bill was passed by Monday’s plenary session. The bill will be reviewed in detail by one of the legislature’s three standing committees, after which an article-by-article vote will be held in another plenary session next month.