The Office of the Secretary for Economy and Finance retracted the e-vouchers scheme announcement two weeks ago in a statement published just a few hours before the Health Bureau called off today’s (Sunday’s) demonstration. Secretary Lei Wai Nong’s office noted that, following public opinion, the government would work on the return of consumption cards.
“The government has learned the public prefer the electronic consumption card model that was employed in 2020 and will press ahead with work in that direction, in a bid to enable members of the public to enjoy more conveniently the consumption benefits to be provided by the government,” the statement said.
“An announcement regarding optimization will be made soon, once technical details have been finalized.”
In the same statement, the Secretariat noted that the government has paid great attention to the opinions of the public regarding optimization of the electronic consumption benefits plan.
Last year, the government introduced the first two rounds of prepaid consumption card plan, which distributed a total of 8,000 patacas to every Macau ID holder in two installments from May to December.
The recently presented third round included a different scheme requiring users to spend first before being granted an e-voucher, which could be used as a discount on the next purchase.
Last Tuesday, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng apologized to the public for the red tape involved in the MOP5 billion e-voucher program, part of the third round of stimulus package announced earlier.
On Saturday night, the Health Bureau called off the demonstration scheduled for Sunday to express public dissatisfaction with the relief measures presented by the government as part of the third round of the economic stimulus package, announced on March 15.
The demonstration, organized by the Macao Community Development Initiative, a group headed by pro-democracy lawmakers Au Kam San and Ng Kuok Cheong. Their aim was to once again express public views on the new method of support for internal consumption, known as e-vouchers, that did not gather much support after their announcement.
According to the organizers, the protest was intended to call on the government to retract such measures and present others that are more “consensual” among the population – that is, the return to last year’s “consumption cards” – so that every citizen in Macau may benefit from the measure.