Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng stressed efforts to strengthen Macao’s Covid-19 prevention system and promote the stable recovery of the city’s economy in the coming year in his 2022 Policy Address to the Legislative Assembly.
Ho said that thanks to the support of the central government and the concerted efforts of Macao residents, the local government achieved an economic recovery despite fluctuations, and social harmony and stability in 2021.
The 7th Legislative Assembly election had taken place smoothly in September, said Ho.
Looking ahead, the chief executive said that the coming year is expected to be better than 2021 for Macao in terms of economic and social development, but complexities still exist, requiring prudence and a proactive approach.
Noting that Macao has the mainland’s strong backing for its development, Ho said that Macao should be integrated into the nation’s development strategies against the backdrop of the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan and seek more development opportunities and space by participating in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
In 2022, the government will strive to raise the vaccination rate of Covid-19 among residents in order to build up herd immunity and take a raft of measures to promote economic recovery and guarantee employment, Ho said.
Macao will also strive to develop industries to speed up economic diversification in 2022 while consolidating and improving traditionally advantageous industries so as to build an industrial structure that is appropriately diversified and sustainable, the chief executive said.
Efforts will be made to develop a comprehensive tourism and leisure industry combining the elements of eating-out, sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, medical services and sports, and nurture and develop the “big health” industry starting with the research and manufacturing of traditional Chinese medicine, according to Ho.
In September, the central authorities issued a general plan for the development of an intesive cooperation zone in Hengqin as a major initiative to enrich the practice of “One Country, Two Systems” in Macao and boost its appropriate economic diversification.
Ho said that Macao will advance the development of the cooperation zone in Hengqin to gradually implement reform and opening-up measures, pledging to speed up the drafting of major supporting policies, including special measures to relax market access in the cooperation zone, as well as a list of the first batch of authorised items and industries of interest.
He also said Macao will safeguard national security, upgrade supporting legislation, step up law enforcement and enhance liaison and cooperation with cities in the mainland.
Macao will also step up cooperation and exchanges with the countries and regions along the Belt and Road in education, tourism, medical services, sports and culture and fully play its role of a platform linking China and Portuguese-speaking countries, Ho added, The Macau Post Daily reported.