Animal Farm | The Callow Catalogue

Albano Martins

How is it possible that the Government of Macau produces such a biased ‘pamphlet’ for the consideration of Macau residents?
A document that should be neutral, technically moderate, modern – and considers also the offshore online gaming, prohibited to Mainland and Macau Chinese. It should be well-founded and above all very prudent, because it deals with the king-industry of Macau. But such a document drove Macau’s gaming companies’ shares down by nearly HKD150 billion!
Residents are asked to give their opinion, but the Government’s opinion is already quite clear: there is too much gaming, too many casinos, too many concessions, too long a contract period and too many gaming tables!
Gaming is the bad guy, it made inflation soar, real estate boom – enter the bubble – wages soar, making the city less competitive – this, we can read.
But it wasn’t just because of gaming that inflation appeared and real estate soared. Gaming created the conditions for real estate to expand, but the speculation surrounding it was essentially due to the Government and the Legislative Assembly’s inefficiency in regulating the market in a healthy and timely way. Are foreigners the major players in this market? No, the locals are!
So, what was the great ‘crime’ of gaming?
Gaming itself may not create wealth in the Marxist sense of the term, but it is a good distributor, which the Government knows all too well, as it receives 39 percent of gaming revenue without doing a thing.
The great ‘crime’ of gaming is that it contributes the most to Macau’s GDP (and has done better in the past, but then the policy did not allow it to grow). Gaming consumes the most , encourages a lot of local and cross-border production, employing more local people and increasing wages to the common citizen.
Gaming put Macau on the world map and created favorable conditions for other industries to develop and grow, and this happened despite the inefficiency and short sightedness of local entrepreneurs and the government itself, in a land where taxation is so attractive and benevolent.
The MICE industry is heavily subsidized and still loses money!
Macau wants industries, but there were once industries spread all over it (in Rua dos Pescadores? in Pac On? in Concordia Industrial Park? at the Cross Border Industrial Zone???) and apparently nothing was produced that was worthwhile!
They are now interested in attempting to diversify industry in Hengqin and, my goodness, they are going to ask President Xi to decree that the creation of these industries in a territory that does not belong to Macau, as the Secretary for Administration and Justice rightly stressed, be considered as being Macau Domestic Production!
If I were President Xi, I would fire them all for incompetence and lack of patriotism.
GDP is a macroeconomic concept and not a political one!
Please be patriotic. Everything will contribute to the overall increase of Chinese GDP, and when the factors of remuneration return to Macau, if business goes well, then it will contribute to Macau’s GNP but not GDP!
Controlling the distribution of dividends, which is entirely a matter solely for shareholders, is more puerile. Increasing the share capital, giving locals more participation (provided they really pay for it), stronger control of the flows that enter the casinos, is right. But with Government delegates on the Boards? Better use police dogs trained to sniff out any dirty business!
Don’t ruin the life of the Government and Macau’s goose that lays the golden eggs, at least until there is a viable alternative!
Today the Government of Macau has financial reserves for six annual budgets. When Macau returned to the Motherland, it only had funds for one budget, which at the time was about ten times less. Don’t tell me that gaming was also responsible for that…

Categories Opinion