More emphasis on open tenders, auctions to be drawn on land grants

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Issue 524, Page 3
Word count: 723
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The SAR government disclosed yesterday the draft to revise the Land Law, in which among other changes proposed, land would only be granted mainly through open tenders or open auctions.

The public consultation of the proposal had already begun yesterday and will run until December 9.

Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, director of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), Jaime Carion and also chief of the secretary office, Wong Chan Tong gave a press conference to introduce major amendments of the Land Law which was in effect since 1980.

Facing the challenge of land shortage and the economic growth over the past years, the Secretary said it was necessary to enhance the allocation and use of land resources.

In early 2008, the government set up an internal work group formed by the Office of the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, DSSOPT and the Cartography and Cadastre Bureau (DSCC) which is to review and revise the Land Law and other supporting legislation.

Three principles of land use were outlined by the work group as well as eight suggestion items in relation to methods of land grants, land area, concession terms, revision of land purpose, land transfer, calculation of land premium, process of land grants as well as systems to monitor execution of concession contracts.

Secretary Lau said the government would strive to put the draft into the legal amendment procedures at the Legislative Assembly in 2009.

The work group proposed that the fundamental principle in land use should be focused on “building a sustainable city” which not only looked at people’s living standards but also accommodated the pace of social and economic development.

Also, according to economic and social changes the government could increase land resources allocated for public housing construction and reduce those for economic purposes or vice versa.

The work group also suggested the introduction of a public participation scheme so that during the process, land management could become more “transparent and standardised”.

As for the eight major proposed changes of the Land Law, the government decided to adopt open tenders and open auctions as the main ways to grant land resources for developers.

Only in exceptional cases when projects involved development of nonprofit education, cultural, health and sports affairs, construction of public utility facilities such as for water and electricity supplies and also reinforcement of industry diversification, could the land be granted in agreements without going through a tender or auction.

A cap for the area of a land grant was also proposed.

An individual could be granted a total of no more than two hectares of land whilst a legal entity could get no more than 10 hectares.

In terms of the period of concession contracts, the work group agreed to retain the existing term of 25 years for land granted on the leasing system or to introduce a ceiling and minimum for land with different construction purposes.

For example, land with a residential purpose, a term of 30 to 50 years could be leased to the developer and the contract could be renewed for 10 to 15 years each time.

Also, land with an industrial purpose could be leased for 30 to 40 years and also be renewable for 10 to 15 years each time.

On the other hand, tougher restrictions were proposed for developers who wanted to change the land purpose from that originally stated in the contract. The work group said when a land concession was still at a temporary basis, such adjustment could only be allowed when caused by a change in urban planning.

The draft also attempted to change the way that land premiums were calculated. The work group proposed that land premiums should be set closely according to market values and also under consideration of inflation.

In order to ensure contractors or developers execute requirements in contracts, the proposal included setting up a special commission to monitor whether the land was used properly.

If land was abandoned for a certain time, the government could reclaim the land and cease the concession contract.

Copies of the consultation proposal can be downloaded at http://www.dssopt.gov.mo or http://www.dscc.gov.mo.

Until December 9, public opinions regarding the Land Law revision can be emailed to solos@dssopt.gov.mo, fax +853 28340019 or posted to DSSOPT reception on ground floor, 32-36 Estrada D.Maria II, CEM Building, Macau.

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