The Macao government will focus on boosting the economy, fostering economic diversification, relieving livelihood hardships, preventing and controlling Covid-19, and promoting the city’s steady overall development in 2023.
The guarantees were given by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng during the Policy Address for the Fiscal Year 2023, entitled “Making Progress Jointly while Ensuring Stability”.
Ho Iat Seng said that in the coming year, the government will be committed to seven major fronts:
1. Expediting economic recovery and boosting adequate economic diversification
Based on the prerequisite that Covid-19 is under control, the government will effectively provide its assistance regarding policies linked to resumption of application for electronic travel permits by mainland residents wishing to visit Macao, and for the resumption of package tour groups from the mainland to Macao. Such steps would be in a bid to revitalise the tourism sector. The government will also enhance publicity for promoting Macao as a safe travel destination, and open up new source markets domestically and abroad regarding inbound tourism.
The government will increase various investments in public infrastructure with the aim of stimulating domestic demand and revitalising the economy. The preliminary 2023 budgeted amount under the heading “Investments and Development Expenses of the Administration” is MOP 22.3 billion.
Regarding support for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, the chief executive said that the government will continue to help them grasp the opportunities arising from the development of the non-gaming business sector.
The government will enrich Macao’s function as “One Centre” for integrated tourism and leisure, while facilitating the development of a modern financial services; high technology; and conferences and exhibitions, commerce and trade, and culture and sports.
The government also aims gradually to increase the non-gaming sector’s contribution to Macao’s gross domestic product to about 60 per cent in future.
2. Enhancing infrastructure construction and jointly build a liveable, smart city
The government will commence detailed urban planning for Outer Harbour Area-1, Outer Harbour Area-2, and Northern District-1. It is expected that the link connecting Hengqin Checkpoint to the University of Macau will be completed by the second half of 2023, along with the Barra terminal of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system. The government will expedite the construction of the Seac Pai Van Line, the Hengqin Line and the East Line of the LRT, and press ahead with the completion of the Central Testing Building of the Islands Medical Complex.
Ho Iat Seng also said that the government will work towards ensuring implementation of the carbon peak and carbon neutrality policies set by the central government, by requesting the city’s bus operators to phase out the Euro IV, standard public buses.
The government will strive to complete documents regarding maritime zoning and planning of maritime areas, as well as work on legislation regarding the uses of maritime areas.
3. Measures to benefit people’s well-being and improve social well-being and livelihoods
The government will continue implementing various welfare measures and temporary incentives on tax, as implemented during 2022, to ensure no reduction in resources for education, healthcare, livelihoods and social welfare.
Ho Iat Seng said that the government will safeguard the prioritising of employment for local citizens by continuing the Subsidised Training Scheme and the online job matching platform; and will flexibly adjust the number of non-resident workers in Macao, in response to market conditions.
The government among other initiatives will facilitate the construction of the Venceslau de Morais and New Urban Zone Area A public housing projects; launch a new round of applications for the Home-Ownership Scheme Housing; complete the research on the Avenida Wai Long sandwich-class housing scheme and the related legal system; complete the project to construct a housing complex for the elderly; and allocate, via public tender, suitable land for private buildings.
The government will also improve the quality of medical services; improve services for the elderly and support policy matters relating to women and children.
The chief executive also told deputies in the Legislative Assembly that the government will gradually promote a market-orientated development of the tertiary education sector, and improve the infrastructure for non-tertiary education. The government will formulate plans to build an aggregate of eight schools and one education centre in New Urban Zone Area A.
4. Furthering public administration reform to continuously improve governance capacity
The government will step up efforts regarding public administration reform. This includes clarifying public departments’ areas of competence and their obligations, and optimising the distribution of functions. They will also review and perform any necessary reorganisation of public administration structure, while also intensifying e-governance development.
Additionally, it has plans to start issuing in the fourth quarter of 2023 next-generation Macao identity cards.
The chief executive mentioned increased efforts to coordinate the promotion of legislative work, and to strengthen regional and international legal and judicial cooperation, while maintaining judicial independence.
5. Unswervingly safeguarding national security and maintaining social stability
The government will further strengthen the sense of a holistic view of national security, while staying highly vigilant in terms of safeguarding the sovereignty, safety, and development interests of the nation, and firmly preventing any attempts by external forces to intervene in Macao’s internal affairs.
The government will continue the publicity and education work regarding the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), and the Law on Safeguarding National Security, with an aim to strengthen patriotic forces.
Also in 2023, government will strengthen the use of technology to police and enhance cyber security monitoring; promote civil protection reform and implement the new version of the Civil Protection Master Plan.
6. Firmly advancing the development of Hengqin, better integrate Macao into national development
The year 2023 will be of great importance in terms of realisation of the first phase of construction development of the cooperation zone.
The MSAR government will work closely with the Guangdong government to press ahead with advancement of the integration, in the cooperation zone, of legal systems and mechanisms. The two sides will complete in stages the comprehensive legislative work for the cooperation zone.
In addition to ties with Hengqin, Macao will assist in deepening the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
7. Persevering in Covid-19 prevention and control, and building a robust disease-prevention system
Ho Iat Seng said that government consolidated its experience in dealing with epidemic situations during the “18 June” outbreak. The government will enhance the city’s epidemic prevention and control capabilities; optimise the infectious disease prevention and control facilities; perfect regional joint prevention and control; and continue strengthening the epidemic prevention system. The Public Health Specialist Building is expected to be inaugurated in 2023, to provide strong support for the prevention and control of infectious disease.
In 2023, the government will continue to increase the Covid-19 vaccination rate, especially for the elderly and children. Macao will continue to ensure normalisation of epidemic prevention and control on three major fronts, namely the city’s boundaries, in medical institutions and within the community.
“The motherland was always the backbone for Macao, introducing various preferential policies and measures to support Macao’s development”, he added.
Ho Iat Seng also said that the government would spare no effort in seizing opportunities arising from the country’s development and persist in accelerating adequate economic diversification.
“Macao will proactively take part in the country’s new phase of development; pragmatically promote advances in the cooperation zone and give better play to Macao’s role in the country’s development” said the chief executive.