Policy Address 2023

Lei sets out a two-step plan for the economic sector in 2023

Revitalizing the economy first so that it can then be developed is the plan of the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, for 2023. Lei announced his plans yesterday at the Legislative Assembly (AL) where he was present for the sectoral debate over the policy address for 2023 (LAG23).

For the official, despite the impacts caused by the pandemic, “we have managed to undertake many works to revitalize the economy [this year],” he said, noting that this will continue to be the priority for the next year.

To achieve that, the Secretary explained that, “First we need to broaden our source of visitors,” he noted, advising that there is a plan to collaborate with the Secretariat of Social Affairs and Culture to attract visitors from different markets. The plan budgets 650 million patacas to attract visitors to come to Macau by subsidizing their airfares, among other initiatives, Lei said.

As for revitalizing the local market, the Secretary also noted there is a significant portion of 23.3 billion patacas included in the Macau government’s Investment and Development Expenditure Plan (PIDDA) for 2023, about which he said, “We hope that through this significant investment, we can finally revitalize the market.”

Part of these plans to revitalize the local economy pass through something that the Secretary described as the “community economy” and that can be understood as a “neighborhood economy.” He mentioned that the government aims to achieve an increase in the economic activities of the different districts “through a model that diversifies the economy through SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and that will include both online and offline sessions,” as well as “reinforce the plan for the special characteristics stores and also reinforce e-payments.”

Nonetheless, despite the insistence of several lawmakers on the topic, including the president of the AL Kou Hoi In who intervened by posing questions to the Secretary, the government left the plans open-ended, noting that there would be “other opportunities to discuss and present them in more detail,” according to Lei.

As for the second step of economic development, Lei said this would be achieved through a new model of a “diversified economy 1+4.” This model aims to ascribe particular importance to and boost the development of four sectors and the gaming industry, which has been a major industry for decades and at times the only tax revenue source for the government over the last several decades.

This chapter also included the “continuing of activities regarding bonds,” Lei said, as well as a great focus on the non-gaming activities to be developed by the new gaming concessionaires.

“We will enrich the non-gaming industries and create better conditions for leisure and tourism. We want to achieve synchronization between gaming and non-gaming to raise competitiveness,” Lei mentioned.

Lei followed the path introduced by the Chief Executive in his initial presentation of the LAG23, nothing that the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) sector needed to be more oriented towards practical results.

“We hope to be able to create a better relationship between the expos and the investment sources as well as coordinate with Hengqin to have the ‘one event, two places’ policy effectively happening on a regular basis.”

Lei also expressed hopes that with the new Islands Medical Complex becoming operative, the health sector will begin to develop and form connections with the Traditional Chinese Medicine sector in Hengqin.

Idea of handing out MOP8,000 every quarter rejected by Lei

At the Legislative Assembly (AL), lawmaker José Pereira Coutinho insisted on the idea that the government should support the population via quarterly distributions of 8,000 patacas each to be handed out via electronic consumption methods.

In response, Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, rejected the proposal, noting that the budget has already been proposed and is being discussed at the Second Standing Committee of the AL and is soon to be approved. It does not include provision for such a high expense.

Lei also remarked that such a measure would involve a very high level of expenditure that would have to come from the Financial Reserves, highlighting that such resources must be spent in a wiser and fairer manner.

The lawmaker had already proposed such a measure previously to the Chief Executive, and received a similar response.

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