By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The SAR government is seeing good signs of economic recovery and predicts that the gaming tax revenue for the whole year 2010 will be no less than the level of 2009.
The positive forecast is indicated in the latest amendments of the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, which were announced by the Executive Council yesterday.
According to the spokesperson of the Executive Council Leong Heng Teng, a bill has been drafted to revise the current Fiscal Year Budget, which was passed at the Legislative Assembly in December last year, in order to execute the cash handout scheme and waive the stamp duty on admission tickets of performances, exhibitions or entertainment projects this year.
It is expected that the stamp duty exemption will see the government earn around MOP34 million less.
The cash handout scheme in 2009, in which each Macau permanent resident and non-permanent resident received MOP6,000 and MOP3,600 respectively, also cost the government MOP3.37 billion.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On has announced in his 2010 Policy Address that the scheme will be retained this year and the amounts residents will get will also remain the same as in 2009.
Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen told reporters yesterday if the legislature could pass the bill at the end of June or early July, he expected that cheques can be mailed to eligible Macau residents starting mid- or the second half of July.
The Executive Council will hand in the bill to the Legislative Assembly for discussions “as soon as possible” so that the scheme can be implemented on schedule, Leong Heng Teng said.
Meanwhile, “since the impact of the global financial crisis is fading away and the pace of the local economic recovery is being accelerated, the gaming tax revenues reported a more satisfactory increase than expectation over the past few months, and it is estimated that the annual tax revenue will exceed the original forecast,” the spokesperson added.
Hence, the government plans to adjust the figure of the gaming special tax revenue in the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget from MOP33.8 billion to MOP40.25 billion, an increase of MOP6.45 billion.
The SAR government reported gross gaming tax revenue of nearly MOP42 billion for the whole year 2009.
Macau’s gaming industry earned MOP14.1 billion in April this year, which was the highest monthly revenue on record and represented a 70 percent over the same period of 2009, Portuguese news agency Lusa reported last week. The total income for the first four months of 2010 amounted to MOP55.1 billion.
After the above adjustment, the amounts of total revenue and expenditure in the 2010 Budget will jump from MOP52.42 billion to MOP58.87 billion.
Leong Heng Teng said the additional MOP6.45 billion will be put in the alternate funding project and the expenditure of this year’s cash handout scheme is going to come from this project.
On the other hand, the Executive Council finished deliberation on the administrative regulation to reduce the license fees of multiple radio services, in order to encourage more companies to apply for accreditations for new radio communications equipment.
The SAR government will also continue to waive the mobile station fees of local paging services and mobile phones in 2010.
In addition, considering the business difficulties of the fishing industry, Leong Heng Teng said the administrative regulation is going to decrease the radio license fees of public ship stations as well as to continue to cut 50 percent of the radio license fees installed in fishing boats.