By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Legislative Assembly is expected to pass the final reading of the bill to revise the 2011 Budget Plan before the summer recess so that local residents will be able to receive the “cash subsidies” beginning the end of August.
The First Standing Committee of the legislature held the first meeting with government representatives yesterday to deliberate the revised bill.
President of the committee Kwan Tsui Hang told reporters after the meeting that the discussion was almost complete and “no special opinions” were expressed from either side.
The government has proposed to revise this year’s budget plan in order to increase expenses by about MOP 3.2 billion to fund the cash subsidy and continuing education schemes as well as the central saving system.
The government has previously said that it would strive to implement the cash subsidy scheme at the end of August this year with the aim to “ease people’s inflationary pressure”.
Each eligible Macau permanent resident and non-permanent resident will receive respectively MOP 3,000 and MOP 1,800. This scheme is estimated to cost some MOP 1.78 billion.
Meanwhile, each permanent resident who has reached 22 years of age on January 1, 2011 and stayed in Macau for at least 183 days in 2010 will be eligible to have MOP 6,000 injected into their central saving account by the government this year.
This arrangement will cost the government MOP 1.38 billion.
In addition, the continuing education scheme which is to offer a total of MOP 5,000 for each Macau resident aged 15 or above to sign up for any of the registered courses until December 31, 2013 will cost the government an extra MOP 130 million.
Kwan said the standing committee is slated to finish the deliberation on August 5 and after that, the bill will be up for the final reading before the legislature begins the two-month recess on August 15.
On the other hand, in another meeting held by the second standing committee yesterday, the government submitted a new draft law covering disabled allowances, where eligible individuals are required to submit applications before December 31 this year in order to also receive back dated allowances for 2009 and 2010.
The updated bill also proposed that the allocation time of allowances will be set by a chief executive dispatch each year.
In addition, provisions to protect individual privacy have been added in order to limit the Social Welfare Bureau and the Health Bureau’s power in handling the related personal data.