Macau hands out cash to everyone

November 15, 2023 12:24
Photo: Reuters

Perhaps we should not be too jealous of Macau residents who are going to receive 10,000 patacas from the government for the 17th year.

Announced yesterday by Chief Executive Ho Lat Seng in his last policy address of his term, the Macau government is again handing out cash to its residents. Each non-permanent residents will also get 6,000 patacas. No champagne corked – because it’s all expected.

On top of that, they would get a 7,000 patacas cash injection into their Central Provident Fund scheme, equivalent to our Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF).

Based on the poor Hang Seng Index performance year-to-date, it would only be lucky if an average Hong Kong worker has not seen losses in their MPF accounts.

As such, a similar cash injection into our MPF accounts would be highly desirable. Otherwise, it is hard to stop the annual assault to the MPF, which is supposed to provide better retirement protection.

To make things even better, Macau government will each resident medical coupons worth 600 patacas to offset their medical bills.

The casino city saw a strong rebound of 71.5 per cent in GDP after the reopening early this year.

But reading the Macau media commentary, it is not difficult to gauge that they are still not happy. One paper criticized the government for lacking innovations except repeating most of the perks it gave out previously.

So what else do they want? The baby bonus. One paper criticized the government for “lying flat” and not coming up with a series of childbirth incentives, the talk of the town last month.

Chief Executive Ho once acknowledged his government could not come up with a good solution to the population ageing issue other than increasing fertility rate.

Unfortunately his policy address fell short of such expectations.

Perhaps he is watching closely how such initiatives from Hong Kong would end up next year.

Yes, there are interesting discussions among Hongkongers on having babies, but most people think the HK$20,000 bonus was too little, too late. Some legislators suggested to raise to HK$40,000, but Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok-ki said there will be no upward adjustment based on the budget deficit.

Last Friday, Chief Executive John Lee told a group of mainland talents that he hope they could settle well in Hong Kong and contribute to the society.

He jokingly hope they could meet their partners in Hong Kong and even better, have lots of babies here.

More than 70,000 people landed Hong Kong under the Top Talent Pass Scheme this year, Lee said, noting that the government has approved 110,000 out of the more than 180,000 applications.

-- Contact us at [email protected]

EJ Insight writer