More than 8,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) applied for help from the government’s aid scheme between January 2020 and March 2022, and 6,381 were granted a total of MOP 2.25 billion in loans.
Ng Hong Kei, deputy convener of the Taipa and Coloane Community Service Consultative Council, revealed following the council’s closed-door meeting with Economic and Technological Development Bureau (DSEDT) officials.
According to the DSEDT, in May 2003 the government launched the Aid Scheme in response to the difficult economic situation at that time, and it provides up to MOP 600,000 interest-free per SME. The maximum period for repayment of the loans is eight years.
According to Ng, between January 2020 and March 2022 there were 1,576 applications for the government’s “temporary relaxation of application requirements for the SMEs support measures” of which 753 cases were in Taipa and Coloane, 545 of which were approved, totalling MOP 212 million. Ng said industries that benefited from the measures include retail, construction and other projects, as well as the hotel industry. The retail sector was the main beneficiary as it accounted for 27.4 per cent of the total, Ng added.
Ng noted that the bureau launched an interest subsidy scheme for SMEs in March 2020. Applicants for the programme can ask for a 40 per cent interest-free loan of up to MOP 2 million with a payback period of three years, in which 4,851 applications were approved out of 5,063 applicants, amounting to over MOP 6 billion. Ng said that with the impact of Covid-19, the bureau had allowed 7,309 SMEs to adjust their payback period twice.
Ng said that according to DSEDT officials, the bureau has launched a new measure called Business Subsidy Scheme for Encouraging Enterprise Upgrading and Development, adding that with this measure, the government will subsidise all registered local enterprises’ bank loan interest payments with a four-year payback period.
Fellow council member Choi Seng Hon said that when civic leaders raised their concerns about the situation of applicants who had shut down their business, and those who are unable to pay back their loans, the DSEDT officials replied that these kinds of cases do not usually occur, and that the bureau will extend the payback period to 90 days for those who are not able to pay the loans back within 30 days, The Macau Post Daily reported.