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Macau: Policy plans for 2016

Pedro CortésMarta Mourão

On November 17 2015, the Chief Executive of Macau delivered the policy address for the fiscal year of 2016 at the Legislative Assembly. Chui Sai On stated that, after 10 years of continuous rapid growth, the gaming industry was going through an adjustment phase, with its revenues recording successive breakdowns.

The Chief Executive emphasised that the economy of Macau was nonetheless developing healthily, with stable public finances, and public accounts were continuing to register a surplus.

The plans for 2016 include improvements in social welfare, with an increase to a set of subsidies; the Wealth Partaking Scheme and the Continuing Education Development Scheme will continue.

Continuous support to local small and medium enterprises is also on the agenda, with some companies being able to access more loan funds, either interest free, or with low interest rates.

During his positive speech, Chui Sai On also made references to the recently created Commission for the Construction of World Centre of Tourism and Leisure. This is the result of a cooperation agreement signed between the Government of Macau and the China National Tourism Administration, which aims to promote and exchange events, studies and to adopt specific measures related to the sector.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive announced that the preparation of the 'Five-Year Development Plan of the Macau Special Administrative Region' was underway, including a project for the future overall development of Macau.

The role of Macau as a platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries was also highlighted.

Although not the main issue of the policy address, the need to diversify the economy was also stressed, during which process the structure of the industries of Macau would likely suffer further adjustment pressure; and, "industries not associated with gaming may constitute a dynamic factor for maintaining the stability of the economy".

Supervision of the gaming industry remains at the top of the programme, namely through the mid-term review process. On the other hand, operators will be encouraged to participate more in large-scale tourism projects in order to diversify the sector by offering more leisure and non-gaming activities.

The policy address of the Chief Executive for 2016 is in line with what was predicted a year ago, with the downturn in the gaming industry being the most challenging aspect for the Macau economy, with this industry being boosted by other diversified areas.

Pedro Cortés and Marta Mourão

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