Macau fights virus with spending vouchers

Top News | Staff reporter 14 Feb 2020

Macau will distribute electronic consumption vouchers each worth 3,000 Macau patacas (HK$2,913) to all residents after the coronavirus situation improves, its financial chief says.

The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai-nong, said the MOP2.2 billion vouchers will help boost domestic demand.

"In order to speed up livelihood improvements after the situation has passed, the government will distribute MOP3,000 electronic consumption coupons to each citizen," Lei said.

"The coupons must be spent in Macau. They can be used for catering, retail services and daily necessities."

The voucher will be valid for three months, subject to a daily limit of MOP300 per day. It will take three or four months to implement.

"Our intention is clear. We hope the boosted consumption can help enterprises survive," Lei said.

He also announced tax concessions for individuals and businesses. Residents will also have the government pay their electricity and water bills for three months. There will be a 70 percent tax rebate for the professional tax of up to MOP20,000, paid for the year 2018 - benefiting 170,000 people.

Employees will also pay less professional tax for the year 2020, as the deduction in tax base will be widened from 25 percent to 30 percent.

This means that for a person who earns a salary of MOP40,000, only MOP28,000 of it will be used to calculate the amount of tax to be paid - instead of MOP30,000 in the past.

All Macau residential units are exempted from paying property tax for 2020.

The proposals have to be endorsed by Macau's Legislative Assembly.

Politicians and businesses in Hong Kong have been advocating a consumption voucher, but they have been given the cold shoulder by the government.

Macau has reported 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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