Minimum wage useful to improve income distribution

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Issue 1272, Page 2
Word count: 468
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Amid growing demands for a fair allocation of social resources in Macau against the backdrop of climbing GDP and a booming economy, a local scholar has called on the Government to implement the minimum wage system as soon as possible and also to inject more money into other livelihood policies.

Hao Yufan, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Humanities, the University of Macau (UM), told reporters on the sidelines of the launch ceremony of the Blue Book of Macau (2010 – 2011) yesterday that while the Government cannot interfere in the local business market too much, it should lead or encourage the enterprises to offer a stable increase in their staff salaries.

The Blue Book consists of 27 dissertations from almost 30 scholars from various fields and expertise analysing the political, economic, social and cultural development in the SAR over the past year.

In the general report written by Hao, who is one of the two editors-in-chief of the publication, he pointed out that the SAR Government has successfully promoted economic development and accumulated public revenues, but at the same time “overlooked” the livelihood issues which are related to social justice.

The scholar said local people’s expectations on the Government have been rising and complaints against the current social situations have continued to intensify, such as demands for “economic diversification, a fiscal reserve system, higher transparency in the use of public funds, a balance between livelihood measures and economic growth, as well as stronger integrity building in the Administration”.

According to Hao, Macau people hope that they can better feel the advantages brought to them personally by the increase in social wealth, and can lead a quality life that “matches Macau’s title of per-capital GDP being ranked the first in Asia”.

Zeng Zhonglu, a professor at the Macau Polytechnic Institute, revealed in his dissertation published in the Blue Book that the proportion of Macau people’s remunerations to GDP was 28.8 percent in 2008, a continuous drop of 9 percent from 37.7 percent in 1999.

The proportion, Zeng said, was not only below the world average of 40 to 60 percent, but also “far below” that of the neighbouring places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan.

In order to improve the phenomenon of “unfair income distribution”, Hao suggested the Government work faster on the study about the launch of a city-wide minimum wage system in Macau, and also increase expenditures on health care, aging population, social security, housing, education and transport policies.

“The sequelae resulted from the long negligence of livelihood issues are quietly destroying the glamorous achievements obtained by Macau in the past decade,” Hao stated.

Hence, he pointed out that a new challenge for the SAR Government will be to take care of livelihood and social justice in the process of economic development.

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