On November 12 2013, the Chief Executive of Macau, Chui Sai On, delivered his last policy address of his first term of office.
While the most popular policies seem to be the enhancing of the Wealth Partaking Scheme and the renewal of the Continuing Education Programme for a term of three years, other policies have been announced from which one can expect challenging results.
As regards the economic and financial sectors, Chui Sai On intends to support small and medium enterprises by reinforcing financial aid measures, such as supporting and ensuring access to credit and implementing interest subsidies on loans to finance business and tax incentives under the industrial policy.
Other policies related to this sector aim to facilitate the development of the convention and exhibition sector, to foster industrial transformation and upgrading, to tighten gaming regulation to ensure stable growth of pillar industries, to boost the development of modern logistics, retail, cultural and creative, and Chinese medicine industries, and to support the development of Macau-branded products and services.
The Chief Executive shared his purpose to improve human resource skills, by continuing to conduct varied training courses and encouraging the public to pursue professional qualifications.
Deepening regional cooperation is also sought with these policies, not only by strengthening the enforcement of the Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), but also the cooperation between Macau and Hong Kong, including financial, environmental protection and tourism areas, and with Taiwan.
The Macau Industrial and Comercial Development Fund is expected to grow in order to reach more projects, which will enhance the diversification of the local economy.
With respect to business owners, there will be an increase in profit tax allowance from MOP200,000 ($25,000) to MOP300,000 and the Macau Special Administrative Region aims to provide waivers of signboard taxes for businesses, exemption from tourism tax for restaurants, and to continue providing waivers of all business taxes, hawker licence fees, wet market stall rents, inspection and quarantine fees for live food, and stamp duty on life insurance, non-life insurance and bank service charges.
Between January and October 2013, Macau public accounts showed a surplus of MOP85,466 billion, which represents an increase of 28% over the same period in 2012.
Likewise, between January and July 2013, 2,575 companies were incorporated in Macau, corresponding to 20.6% more companies than the ones incorporated during the first seven months of 2012.
Macau's glaring economic growth has, however, been resulting in a high inflation of the market and huge speculation in the property market.
Macau residents will undoubtedly hope that the financial and economic policies for 2014 may help them face this continued growth of the inflation rate and its impact on the increasing cost of living.
Pedro Cortés and Marta Mourão Teixeira