At the legislative assembly on November 15 2016 Fernando Chui Sai On, chief executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region, delivered the policy address for the 2017 fiscal year. Chui Sai On stated that Macau's economy is developing healthily, public finances are stable and public accounts are continuing to register a surplus.

Social welfare

Plans for 2017 include improvements to social welfare. In 2017 the government will once again offer the Wealth Partaking Scheme to permanent residents at Pte9,000 and to non-permanent residents at Pte5,400. The Continuing Education Development Programme will continue to afford Pte6,000 per person. The government is also proposing a 2.5% salary increase for civil servants in 2017.

Tax

For business owners and related persons, profit tax allowance remains at Pte600,000 per year. Over the Pte600,000 threshold taxable profits are subject to corporate tax at a flat rate of 12%. Waivers of all business taxes, hawker licence fees, wet-market stall rents, inspection and quarantine fees for live food, stamp duty on life insurance, other insurance and bank service charges will continue to be provided.

As in 2016, in 2017 30% of the income of employees and professionals will not be subject to professional tax, with the basic allowance set at Pte144,000. An additional 60% rebate of personal income tax paid by each tax-paying Macau resident, subject to a cap of Pte12,000 of extra tax rebate, which will be reimbursed in 2018.

The government intends to continue supporting local small and medium-sized enterprises and has formulated an action plan with this in mind. It will also continue promoting collaboration between large-scale conventions, exhibitions and festivals, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises.

Gaming

Chui Sai On urged Macau's casino operators to continue increasing leisure and non-gaming activities. He said that the government would promote "increased cooperation" between gaming operators and small and medium-sized restaurants with unique character and cultural and creative industries. He went on to add that the government will continue to strengthen supervision of the gaming industry and to control the sector's development.

E-commerce

The government will also facilitate the development of online and e-commerce markets by small and medium-sized enterprises. It intends to consider establishing an online certified shop system and to actively promote collaboration between the Young Entrepreneur Incubation Centre, as well as expanding the coverage of the Young Entrepreneur Assistance Scheme.

'One belt, one road' initiative

Macau actively participates in the 'one belt, one road' initiative, which has benefited from a series of government supporting policies, following approval of the arrangements for cross-boundary pleasure boat sailing between Macau and Zhongshan, striving to gradually promote the scheme to the three Guangdong free trade zones, Nansha, Hengqin and Qianhai.

Macau will also:

  • implement the Framework Agreement on Cooperation between Guangdong and Macau;
  • deepen cooperation in the Pan Pearl River Delta region;
  • promote cooperation between Macau and Jiangsu, Beijing and Tianjin; and
  • explore opportunities for exchanges and cooperation between Macau and the central and western regions and northeastern old industrial bases of mainland China.

Portuguese-speaking countries

Macau's role as a platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries was also highlighted. The government will develop a training programme for Portuguese-speaking professionals and implement the Chinese and Portuguese Bilingual Talent Training and Education and Research Cooperation Subsidy Scheme at the tertiary institutions in Macau.

There will be an increase in resources investment in the Guangdong-Macau Traditional Chinese Medicine Technology Industrial Park in Hengqin. Help will be offered to enterprises operating in the park and other related enterprises in Macau to promote their products in Portuguese-speaking countries.

Chui Sai On also stated that the government will consider developing specialised financial services and the establishment of a renminbi settlement platform for trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

For further information on this topic please contact Pedro Cortés or Kam Man Ng at Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés Advogados by telephone (+853 2856 2322) or email (cortes@lektou.com or kam@lektou.com). The Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés Advogados website can be accessed at www.lektou.com.

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