Economist pleads for voucher scheme fix
Suggestions include either extending consumption vouchers’ validity or scrapping it, while Macao’s shops could also run their own promotions.
A leading economist has urged the government to sort out its convoluted system of consumption promotion vouchers.
Speaking during a current affairs phone-in programme hosted by Ou Mun Tin Toi on the Chinese-language radio channel of government-owned broadcaster TDM, Macau Economic Association chairman Lao Pun Lap said the scheme’s validity should be extended or just scrapped.
He said that while the main goal of the scheme was to encourage consumption by subsidising spending, it is “very complicated” and residents may not understand it.
Lao said that by extending or simply scrapping the 15-day voucher validity period, people would have more flexibility. He also suggested that the elderly benefit – an immediate reduction after spending a certain amount of money – be extended to everyone.
Lao added that under a similar scheme in the mainland, shops have launched their own promotions to complement the voucher scheme. He pointed out that if Macao’s shop owners followed suit, it would be more effective and lead to a higher consumption rate.
More than 90 per cent of Macao’s businesses are small- and medium-enterprises, Lao said, and their employees make up over 40 per cent of the labour market. He pointed out that if the voucher scheme was able to sustain SMEs, it would also stabilise employment issues.
Another guest on the phone-in, MacauTravel Industry Council president Wong Fai, said that the tourism industry supports the government’s travel subsidy. He said that besides tour guides and drivers, more workers in the tourism sector would be given a chance to work again, adding that the travel subsidy scheme would also lead residents to spend within the community.