Local residents have in the five days, since they were valid, spent MOP 295 million (US$36.9 million) on goods and services with their government-issued consumption subsidy smartcards as part of its effort to stimulate the economy, a statement from the Economic Services Bureau (DSE) said this week.
Under the scheme, each permanent or non-permanent resident is eligible for the consumption subsidy smartcard into which the government has injected 3,000 patacas, which residents have to spend from May 1 to July 31 with a daily spending limit set at 300 patacas. Any remaining value on the card after the period will be returned to the public coffers.
The government has since also announced a second round of the scheme where it will top up the same card up with 5,000 patacas for spending between August and December.
The cards are transferable but are not renewable in case of loss or damage.
According to the government’s figures, over 658,000 residents have registered for the smartcard, and about 530,000 residents have collected it.
Meanwhile, the Public Security Police (PSP) said on Thursday that 144 smartcards have been reported lost or stolen, including 17 cases of appropriation of lost property and four suspected theft cases, between April 14, when the card collection process started, and Wednesday.
The DSE statement said that during the first five days the consumption subsidy smartcard could be used, the bureau has recorded a total 2.37 million transactions, injecting some MOP 295 million into the market.
“Based on initial statistics, different sectors are benefiting from it. When the economy is rapidly declining due to the [COVID-19] epidemic, it is giving each sector and each business a real shot in the arm,” the statement said.
The DSE figures show that 27.53 per cent of the transactions in the first five days were made in the food and beverage sector, 23.61 per cent in supermarkets, 8.51 per cent in specialised food business, 8.51 per cent in small- and medium-sized department and retail shops, and 4.23 per cent in pharmacies.
However, the figures show that supermarkets benefited the most in terms of spending in the first five days, with 22.03 per cent of the total MOP 295 million, or MOP 65 million. This is followed by the food and beverage sector at 21.44 per cent, electrical appliance businesses at 8.9 per cent, retail shops at 7.68 per cent, and clothing shops at 6.72 per cent.
The statement said the government’s aim of the consumption subsidy smartcard scheme was to expand local consumer spending within a short period of time to stimulate the economy, where each sector can benefit, in order to stabilise employment and civil society.