IAS studies special subsidy amid inflation

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Issue 1243, Page 4
Word count: 295
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) is keeping “a close eye” on Macau’s inflation and has plans to implement a special living subsidy for disadvantaged groups, if necessary, in the second quarter of this year, acting president Iong Kong Io said.

The research institute IAS has commissioned to study the city’s minimum subsistence index has suggested that if the inflation rate reaches a certain level, the index should be adjusted correspondingly.

“But it is not finalised yet and the result report will only be available in June,” Iong told reporters on the sidelines of the bureau’s Spring lunch gathering yesterday.

He also said the bureau will evaluate whether or not to increase support to the disadvantaged people based on statistics and data from the first quarter of this year.

Macau’s inflation rate climbed to 4.92 percent in January, and concerns have been raised that it would reach or go beyond 5 percent this month.

Iong also addressed child care needs in Macau and said that since child day care centres will start receiving applications next month, the IAS has advised the industry to replace the current registration policy of first-come, first-served with lot drawing, which will be “fairer and avoid parents from lining up overnight outside of day care centres”.

Local nurseries at present have about 4,000 places and the IAS chief said the number is expected to rise by “at least” 545 through new construction or expansion of the existing facilities, before the new school year begins in September this year.

Furthermore, Iong disclosed that the methadone treatment program in the Areia Preta Health Centre should become operational in the second quarter of this year.

He said the health centre is installing the facilities and waiting for renovation for the implementation of the new service.

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