Income subsidy retained this year

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Issue 986, Page 3
Word count: 448
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Executive Council announced yesterday that the income subsidy will be retained this year to aid Macau permanent residents who earn less than MOP12,000 per quarter.

The scheme, introduced in 2008, aims to alleviate the low-income earners’ living pressure in Macau.

Local permanent residents who are paid amounting to no more than MOP120,000 per quarter and work for a minimum of 152 hours each month may be qualified to receive a subsidy until their quarterly income reaches MOP120,000.

The working hour requirement for employees from the textile, garment and leather manufacturing industries will be no less than 128 hours per month.

In addition, applicants must have to be at or over 40 years old in the quarter when the applications are submitted, hold a Macau permanent identity card on or before December 31, 2009 and also registered as an employee with the Social Security Fund before that date.

Eligible residents are required to submit applications to the Financial Services Bureau respectively in April, July, October 2010 and January 2011.

Subsidies will be deposited into designated accounts in May, August, November 2010 and February 2011 separately.

The government expected that the scheme will cost around MOP100 million this year.

According to the Executive Council spokesman Leong Heng Teng, there were about 10,000 applicants in 2008 and more than 9,000 applications were approved.

In 2009, some 9,000 residents applied for the scheme and most of them successfully got the subsidies.

Leong Heng Teng said the scheme cost the government a total of around MOP64 million since it was launched.

Credit guarantee for SMEs; refugee identity cards

Meanwhile, the Executive Council proposed to raise the ceiling of the credit guarantee amount provided by the SAR government for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from MOP200 million to MOP500 million.

The bill will be discussed at the Legislative Assembly.

As for the SME Special Credit Guarantee Scheme, Leong Heng Teng said the cap will remain at MOP100 million.

The proposal, Leong said, is to support and financially aid local SMEs which have been hit by the global financial crisis and the “uncertain factors in the external economic environment” these days.

The schemes also aim to promote technical transformations and improve operations in enterprises.

On the other hand, people who are recognised as refugee by the Refugee Affairs Committee can apply for a refugee identity card from the Identification Bureau without any charges.

After getting the identity cards they can apply for travel documents from the same bureau.

Leong Heng Teng said it is expected that a very small number of refugee identity cards will be issued, and therefore these cards will adopt the traditional identity card design but not be embedded with chips.

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