The government announced on Monday that it will start paying out its annual wealth-sharing handouts to residents on April 1, several months earlier than in previous years, to help them cope with the fallout from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng announced the early start of the programme in an administrative regulation (by-law) published in the Official Gazette (BO) on Monday. In the regulation’s preamble, Ho states that the early payout is warranted by the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the “economy and life of the population of Macau.”
Additionally, the government announced the detailed schedule of the payout in a notice released by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS).
According to the official schedule, the handouts will be gradually paid out to different segments of the population from April 1 to June 19.
As in previous years, each permanent resident will receive 10,000 patacas (US1,250), while each non-permanent resident will get 6,000 patacas.
According to the GCS statement, permanent and non-permanent residents born on or before December 31, 2019, are entitled to the handout.
According to the schedule, beneficiaries of old-age pensions will receive the handouts on April 1. Residents born between 2014 and 2019 will receive the handout between June 15-19.
The statement noted that 680,000 permanent residents and 48,000 non-permanent residents are entitled to the handout. The entitlement is irrespective of the beneficiaries’ place of birth and nationality.
According to the statement, the government expects to spend MOP 7.1 billion (US$884.32 million) on the handouts, or about 5.8 percent of the government’s expected income of MOP 122.7 billion (US$15.28 billion) for this year, according to its 2020 budget passed by lawmakers in December last year.