Austerity in Macau to stay even if casino income rises this month said Chui

The austerity measures announced by the government on Monday will not be cancelled even if the city’s gross gaming revenues

The austerity measures announced by the government on Monday will not be cancelled even if the city’s gross gaming revenues rebound to over 20 billion patacas this month, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said on Wednesday.

Chui spoke to reporters at the local airport before departing for Beijing to attend Thursday’s V-Day parade.

On Monday, the government announced a raft of retrenchment measures, involving 1.4 billion patacas, to control public expenditure. The move came after the city’s gross gaming revenue in the first eight months of this year fell below the government’s previously announced “red line” of a monthly average of 20 billion patacas – 19.86 billion patacas.

Chui also said on Wednesday that whether the annual “wealth-sharing” cash handout would continue next year depended on the government’s budget surplus this year, adding that, personally, he was “still optimistic” about having a surplus this year and keeping the cash handout next year.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, who was also attending the military parade, said in Beijing on Wednesday that he would not exclude the possibility of a second round of austerity measures if the monthly gross gaming revenues continue to decline.

The policy secretary also reaffirmed that the measures would not affect residents’ livelihoods and the government’s public investment plan (PIDDA).

(macaunew/ macaupost)