Cash handouts in early 2011

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Issue 1168, Page 3
Word count: 590
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Local permanent and non-permanent residents can expect to receive MOP 4,000 and MOP 2,400 cash respectively from the Government in early 2011, the Chief Executive said.

In response to lawmaker Tsui Wai Kwan’s query about how the Government is going to alleviate the living pressure of local residents caused by soaring inflation, inflows of hot money and continuous renminbi appreciation, Fernando Chui Sai On said he predicted that Macau’s inflation may possibly continue to climb in the near future.

The Statistics and Census Bureau reported that in September the inflation rate stood at 3.83 percent, up notably by 1.28 percent compared to the preceding month.

The Chief Executive pledged that the Government will keep a close eye on the situation in the next half a year, adding that if the index remains high more livelihood measures will be rolled out.

He also announced that in the meantime a string of measures will be implemented shortly. Of which, the Government has decided to hand out the cheques to local residents in the beginning of 2011, rather than between July and September as usual.

The 5,861 households living in social housing units will be exempt from paying rent between January and March 2011. According to media reports in August 2009, around 80 percent of the households paid a monthly rent of MOP 200 or below.

In addition, Fernando Chui Sai On announced that student bus fares will be further reduced from MOP 1.5 to MOP 1 per ride.

The Chief Executive told the lawmakers that the 8,800 families who are receiving financial aid or special allowances from the Social Welfare Bureau will also receive extra one-month assistance in 2011, and that the food bank services will also be reinforced.

In order to break the monopoly and expand the source of food supplies, it has been disclosed that secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan and secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen will engage in talks with Mainland authorities shortly in an attempt to cut down prices of imported goods in Macau.

The Chief Executive also said that rice, agricultural products and other non-staple foods may be imported from Thailand and Vietnam in the future.

In response to public concerns that central saving accounts opened in 2011 will only get MOP 6,000 from the Government handout scheme, Chui clarified that the Government will inject MOP 10,000 into each central saving account as “start-up capital” no matter in which year it is opened.

With regard to the prolonged delay of rental program for newlyweds, the Chief Executive said the demand is “small” citing there were only 2,000 to 3,000 couples married in each of the past four years. He said the delay is a result of the “diverse opinions” generated in the public.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive said the officials’ assets declaration system is “reasonable” in a “sunshine government”, and he hoped that the draft law can enter the legislative process by the end of this year.

In response to lawmaker Lee Chong Cheng’s inquiry, Fernando Chui Sai On reiterated that the Government is determined to solve the decade-long dispute between Cable TV and the public antenna companies, pointing out that the first step is to amend the related laws and regulations within the next three to six months.

With regard to the workers importation policy, the top-official pledged to speed up the approval of imported worker applications from small and medium enterprises. Thus, he added, the Government would lay down more measures to help these companies to survive and prosper.

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