e announced a string of policies to enhance the quality of Macau’s workforce, mostly benefiting Macau people and excluding migrant workers. The Continuing Education Development Plan will be expanded for three more years. The new allowance will be increased to us$ 750 from us$ 614 in the first round.
The plan entitles permanent residents aged 15 or older to use their allowance to pay for continuing education courses and certificate examinations. Chui also vowed to set up a committee focused on the long-term development and promotion of local talent. The government will create a human resources database and introduce a system to assess workers’ skills, he said.
Companies that invest in professional training for their staff will receive special awards and incentives, especially small and medium enterprises.
The government is also planning to create new programmes to encourage highly talented people to further their studies and improve their skills. Chui said the government would push large companies, including the six gaming operators, to promote more residents to management positions. He did not set any minimum ratio for Macau residents in these posts.
The government will continue to “firmly” ban migrants from working as casino dealers, Chui said. He did not clarify if the government is planning to ban non-local croupiers by law, as requested by several labour unions.
Macau SMEs will get some help in expanding to Hengqin Island, as there are plans to create an area only for Macau businesses at the new Chimelong theme park, scheduled to open next month.
The government’s environmental protection fund will also be revamped. The fund’s purpose is to subsidise the acquisition of environmentally friendly technology, equipment and products by companies and associations.
It currently offers grants of up to 80 percent of the cost, to a maximum of us$ 61,463 per grant; the ceiling will be raised to us$ 122,927. It is not clear if the fund’s scope will also be revised.
The cash handout scheme will continue in 2014, handing even more money to both permanent residents and non-permanent residents. Permanent residents will receive a record us$ 1,106, while non-permanent residents will get us$ 663. Last year, permanent residents received us$ 983 and non-permanent residents us$ 590.
Chui also said that 200 new taxi licences would be put up for grabs in 2014, and that the government would revise the controversial Light Rapid Transit railway route through the NAPE district.
The study on the construction of housing exclusively for Macau people on newly reclaimed land will be ready next year, and a round of public consultation on the topic will be launched, he said.
The government also extended several sweeteners introduced previously, increasing their amounts. The annual elderly subsidy will be increased. The government expects to spend over us$ 1.38 billion in subsidies and allowances in 2014.