November 2, 2023
HONG KONG – Macao’s public finances are expected to record a surplus next year and the city will continue to offer cash handouts, livelihood subsidies, and tax deductions to residents, according to the city’s 2024 budget, which was submitted to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
The budget was presented two weeks before Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng will deliver this year’s Policy Address on Nov 14.
In the budget, the Macao government noted that the city’s business environment and employment market have been improving, with the unemployment rate and inflation rate remaining relatively low
The budget estimated Macao’s public revenue will reach MOP$107.1 billion ($13.2 billion) next year, with a surplus of about MOP$1.2 billion after deducting general expenditure. The net revenue of the gaming industry is expected to be MOP$ 216 billion next year.
MOP$24.6 billion of public funds would be used for measures to improve public livelihoods. Over MOP$8.5 billion will be spent on cash handouts to residents, medical subsidies, electricity subsidies and the residents’ continuing education development program.
If the budget is approved, it will mark the 17th consecutive year that Macao has distributed cash handouts. The exact amount of the handout has not yet been announced. Since 2019, the government of the Macao special administrative region has allocated an annual distribution of MOP$10,000 to permanent residents, and MOP$6,000 to non-permanent residents.
It is also expected that more than MOP$13 billion will be used for education and elderly care, as well as subsidies for people with disabilities and disadvantaged families. In addition, starting from next January, the hourly wage of civil servants will also be adjusted from the current MOP$91 to MOP$94.
In the budget, the Macao government noted that the city’s business environment and employment market have been improving, with the unemployment rate and inflation rate remaining relatively low. The government remains optimistic about economic recovery, and believes that the trend will continue in the coming year.
However, the uncertainties in the global economic environment may have a negative impact on the local economy, the government noted. On the premise of maintaining the overall expenditure on people’s livelihood and welfare as well as ensuring the quality of public services is unchanged, the Macao government will continue to tighten its expenditure and control the number of staff next year to uphold financial stability.
The government also released a development plan for Macao’s appropriate economic diversification from 2024 to 2028 on Wednesday.
This is the first systematic industrial development plan issued in Macao, and it is in response to the nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The plan outlines specific planning and arrangements for developing various industries in the city, including tourism and leisure, traditional Chinese medicine, health industry, modern finance, new and high technologies, conventions and exhibitions, and culture and sports.