Several lawmakers are urging the SAR government to roll out a third round of economic stimulus as a lifeline thrown to locals and SMEs who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
They put forward the suggestions when addressing the Lawmaker Agenda session prior to the Legislative Assembly (AL) plenary meeting yesterday.
Despite the fact that the pandemic has been under check in Macau, local community has expressed apprehension that the city will soon hit a fresh wave of economic distress, as some economic relief measures will expire at the end of this year.
The subsidy program for businesses, as part of the MOP10 billion introduced by the government in April this year – which stipulates any companies receiving government grants will not be allowed to dismiss staff within six months without a justifiable reason – is due to roll out at the end of December.
The termination of this scheme portends new shutdowns across sectors if the government does not implement a new subsidy scheme in a timely manner, Lawmaker Ho Lon Sang said in the AL yesterday.
“The government should be more forward-thinking and start formulating a third round of stimulus, with the aid targeting the city’s SMEs. It is to help them ride out the storm,” Ho stressed.
Considering SMEs as the most vulnerable entity amid the economic fallout, lawmaker Ip Sio Kai suggested the government commit some funds for banks and other financial institutions to reinforce support for providing loans to SMEs.
“If the city’s tourism does not recover at the expected pace, such a lending fund can be initiated straight away, so that SMEs can better brace themselves for any further economic stress,” Ip elucidated.
Lei Cheng I also pointed out that the recovery speed of the global economy largely banks on the development of a vaccine – which however is still in its “research stage.” She said that it is of a pressing need that the government institutes a new round of stimulus to provide the much-needed boost to rectify the city’s climbing unemployment rate.
During the recent Policy Address, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng did not promise another round of relief, yet noted, “We are not reducing any subsidies and support to the population. But we need to follow the legal regimes established for that purpose.” Staff reporter
Agnes Lam stresses gov’t’s double standards
Lawmaker Agnes Lam has again criticized the government for having double standards when it comes to preventive measures against Covid-19.
Lam made the comments in the Lawmaker Agenda session before the Legislative Assembly (AL) plenary meeting yesterday.
Earlier, the authorities have relaxed entry restrictions for racers and other staff of foreign nationalities who are participants in the Grand Prix, as long as they observe the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. Lam denounced the government, saying the relaxation is inequitable, as it does not apply to ordinary people. She made the point that some families have had to separate from each other ever for a long time ever since the border shut down in March.