13,000 SMEs applied for gov’t short-term aid

Lionel Leong

A total of 13,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have filled applications in order to request aid, provided under a government plan to alleviate the effects of Typhoon Hato on such businesses. The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong aired the information on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Monetary Authority of Macao (AMCM) and the new coordinator of the Financial Intelligence Office.

According to Leong, the government has also received around 6,000 applications for medium and long-term support, concerning interest-free loans to a maximum amount of MOP600,000.

Regarding the status of such requests, the Secretary noted the government has already processed a total of 43.1 percent of the requests (5,600), involving a sum of MOP280 million. For these requests, the government is offering a MOP50,000 grant.

As for the larger aid package, only 108 (1.8 pct) of the 6,000 applications have thus far been approved, reaching a total of MOP47.7 million.

The low ratio of these approvals was justified by Leong on the back of the administrative demand of a “great number of applications.” He said that the number of applications in that 20-day period accounted for more than half the total number of requests made under the scheme since its creation in 2003. Leong added that the government is providing additional workers in the relevant services to handle the huge volume of work.

“The staff of the Macao Economic Services has been working overtime lately, and other services of the same kind have also had to mobilize more than 200 workers to face the workload and to accelerate the process of assessing the applications,” Leong said. “The government is maintaining close cooperation with the Banks Association with the aim of accelerating the process of assessing interest-free credit applications.”

The Economy and Finance leader also noted that the AMCM is  monitoring the work of insurance companies after the typhoon catastrophe so that the victims can be compensated as soon as possible.  RM

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