Low-income earners may apply for subsidy this month

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Issue 318, Page 3
Word count: 505
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Local residents aged 40 and above earning less than 4,000 patacas a month can lodge applications for income subsidies this month, the Executive Council said yesterday.

The council said the administrative regulation for this one-year government aid program had been passed and now awaited formal listing in the Official Gazette.

Secretary for Economy and Finance, Francis Tam Pak Yuen, announced the temporary salary subsidy scheme last month after the Social Co-ordination Standing Committee’s plenary meeting, citing it was one of the government measures to help relieve the growing costs.

The subsidy will be distributed every three months and will go into effect when it is published in the Official Gazette.

The spokesperson of the Executive Council, Tong Chi Kin, said yesterday at government headquarters that eligible applicants could file subsidy applications for prior months once the regulation is published.

Applications for the other three subsidies should be lodged individually a month after the end of each quarter – meaning by the end of July and October this year and January of next year.

Macau permanent residents aged 40 years and above and having a job of no less than 26 full days a month and earning less than 12,000 patacas in total each quarter, will be eligible to receive the government’s financial aid until their income reaches 12,000 patacas per three months.

The residents must also have been contributing to the social security fund.

The subsidy will be deposited automatically in the applicant’s bank account details provided they are given to the government.

Mr Tong said the age restriction was set as government statistics showed that people who received a monthly salary less than 4,000 patacas were mainly middle-aged.

He added that definition of “salary” would comply with the 2/78/M law decree that explains “proceeds constituted from the employment of work”.

Self-employed residents, however, will not be included in the program.

The administrative regulation will also control the possibility of employers deliberately reducing their staff’s salary because of the subsidy scheme, he said.

The Executive Council’s spokesperson said false claimants will have to return all the subsidies received and will be liable to criminal charges.

The entire application flow, from issuing and receiving application forms to handling, approval and subsidy distribution, will be carried out by the Finance Services Bureau (DSF). 

More details regarding the application procedures will be announced by DSF at a later time.

According to the Census and Statistics Bureau, Macau has about 16,000 residents who earn less than 4,000 patacas a month. This will result in the government spending some 350 million patacas on the temporary subsidies.

The Executive Council yesterday also announced the approval of electronic declaration service of the Finance Services Bureau.

Mr Tong said electronic declaration relating to taxation affairs would be first implemented, to be followed by the areas of public accounting and property management.

And electronic declaration will carry the same legal authority as the printed version, he added.

The administrative regulation will be in effect the day after it is published in the Official Gazette.


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