Committee to review income subsidy scheme after Lunar New Year

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Issue 593, Page 3
Word count: 431
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs (CPCS) decided yesterday to start the year of 2009 reviewing the effectiveness of the income subsidy scheme that was launched in April last year.

The executive committee of the standing committee held this year’s first meeting at the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), where they validated three new labour associations’ interests of constituencies and set out the work agenda for this year which will be implemented after the Lunar New Year.

Shuen Ka Hung, the president of the executive committee and also director of DSAL, said that the employers and employees representatives reached three consensuses during the meeting in relation to the priority of works needed to be done this year.

After coming back from the Chinese New Year holidays next week, Shuen said they would convene a meeting at once to first discuss the effectiveness of the income subsidy scheme introduced for local residents aged 40 or above and who earned less than 4,000 patacas a month.

Shuen said placing the review on top of their agenda was because the scheme “closely involved people’s livelihood especially the grass-root workers”.

The scheme, which was one of the government measures last year to help ease citizens’ burden under soaring living costs, allowed Macau permanent residents who earned less than 12,000 patacas in total per quarter to receive a government subsidy equaled to the difference between their actual salaries and 12,000 patacas.

The Executive Council spokesman said at that time that the age restriction was set at 40 as official statistics showed that people who received a monthly salary below 4,000 patacas were mainly from the “middle-aged community”.

In addition, Shuen said after the review was completed, the executive committee would start discussion on the “name tags system” which would be made mandatory to all gaming operations employees in Macau.

Staff on the gaming floor in all casinos will be required to wear badges designed by their own companies, in which details of whether they are local or imported workers will be shown.

The end of the discussion will be followed by another review on the employment counselling service in Macau.

Shuen said the government recognised that there was “room for improvement” in the service and hoped that committee members could point out the weaknesses in the future meetings.

On the other hand, when asked how many positions the public construction projects which would be launched by the government this year could create, Shuen said there would be about 5,000 vacancies as suggested by the Office for the Secretary for Transport and Public Works earlier.

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