The University of Macau (UM) Centre for Macau Studies (CMS) held a seminar titled ‘The Preview of Policy Address for the Fiscal Year 2022 of the Macau SAR’. During the event, experts and scholars discussed different areas of Macao’s future governance and provided suggestions for the SAR government.
CMS Director Agnes Lam chaired the seminar. According to Richard Hu Weixing, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS), one of the SAR government’s top priorities in the next year should be the development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin. He suggests that the SAR government should listen extensively to people from all sectors, implement the specific details of the project, launch new initiatives to attract investment and professionals, in order to seize the development opportunities and promote the economic diversification of Macao.
According to Chan Kin Sun, assistant professor of the FSS, Macao needs to evaluate the outcomes of the SAR’s first five-year plan and development strategies in the second five-year plan. He also points out that the development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin requires the joint efforts of different cities and provinces.
According to Yin Yifen, executive director of the Social, Economic and Public Policy Research Centre at Macao Polytechnic Institute, the pandemic requires the SAR government to be more rational in understanding and analysing the degree of difficulty of the adversity it is facing, to use resources more judiciously, to be prepared to take risks while making decisive decisions, and to take public sentiments into consideration when formulating policy.
Tong Kai Chung, president of the Macau Institute of Management, expressed concern over three areas of the government’s future governance: the balance between epidemic prevention and economic development, industrial diversification and structural adjustment, and the use of fiscal revenue and financial support for underprivileged groups.
Kwan Fung, assistant professor of the FSS, and Lei Chun Kwok, assistant professor of the Faculty of Business Administration, agree that the SAR government should be prepared to assess the social and economic impact of the pandemic in the coming year and should establish a coordinated response mechanism with Guangdong and Hong Kong.
Prof Kwan Fung also proposes supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and assess the recovery process, while developing non-gaming industries in Macao with the help of international gaming enterprises. Prof Lei points out that while introducing new industries in areas such as modern finance and cross-border sports activities, the government should pay attention to job creation and the use of tax revenue, adding that it is necessary to consider the appropriateness of relief measures, such as the Wealth Partaking Scheme and the electronic consumption benefits plan.
According to Davis Fong, director of UM’s Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming, the gaming industry in Macao struggles to recover. If more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine next year, or if new preventive drugs become available, it could stimulate an increase in the number of visitors to Macao. He suggests that the SAR government should step up efforts to attract customers in the mass market and work together with enterprises to promote Macao as a tourist destination.
According to Lei Chin Pang, assistant professor of the FSS, although the cultural and creative industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, the online media has grown significantly. For this reason, he calls on the SAR government to strengthen its support for cultural industries on the internet.
According to Pun Chi Meng, executive director of Caritas Macau, the introduction of skilled workers into Macao should be conducted with professional and accurate judgment and must focus on creating ‘interaction’ between these workers. He suggests that the SAR government should provide financial support and necessary facilities for young people to start their own businesses and continue to provide support for those who fall into the three categories of underprivileged people in Macao.
According to Wong Seng Fat, associate professor of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, the SAR government has leveraged the strengths of mainland enterprises to promote smart city development in Macao in the past few years. He suggests that the government should take stock of the experience and achievements in order to formulate a more effective strategy. He adds that it may be feasible to use technologies to help promote economic recovery and development in the post-pandemic period.
The centre will create a written record of the views of all experts and scholars at the seminar and submit it to the SAR government to serve as a basis for policy making.