Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon said on Wednesday that for the time being, the government will not consider setting up a licensing system for the city’s takeaways but instead will first set up a mandatory registration system for them next year.
Cheong made the remarks during a one-day Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle about his portfolio’s policy guidelines for next year.
The city’s eateries and restaurants are licensed by the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) or the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). However, takeaways are not covered by the government’s licensing system for the restaurant sector as they do not provide on-site dining services.
In his introductory speech, Cheong pointed out that the numbers of takeaways and online outlets selling food have been constantly increasing in the city. Cheong said that with the aim of strengthening its supervision of food safety, preventing food safety incidents and reducing the risk of food-borne diseases, the government will establish a mandatory registration system next year with the aim of strengthening its supervision of “outlets that sell processed or prepared food but are not covered by the current licensing system”.
The government rolled out a voluntary registration system for the city’s takeaways and online food outlets in 2016 but lawmakers and civic leaders have criticised the scheme for being ineffective.
Replying to questions from lawmakers, Cheong reaffirmed that for the time being, the government will not consider pushing ahead with the setting-up of a licensing system for the city’s takeaways as this matter would involve “complicated issues”.
Cheong said that to make the existing takeaways meet the requirements similar to those for the operation of restaurants would involve “complicated” administrative procedures, a matter that was expected to take a long time, adding that therefore the government has decided to first roll out a mandatory registration system for the city’s takeaways on a pilot basis next year, with the aim of regulating their hygiene conditions.
Cheong said that if there are “sufficient conditions” in the future the government would consider setting-up a licensing system for takeaways.
Meanwhile, Cheong also said that the government will formulate a contingency plan for cases when samples taken from imported frozen food test positive for COVID-19.
Patriotic education for civil servants
Meanwhile, Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) Director Kou Peng Kuan said during Wednesday’s plenary session that the government will strengthen public servants’ training programmes to raise their knowledge of the nation’s history and culture, socio-economic development and political system, as well as national security. Kou said that the strengthened training aimed to ensure that Macao’s public servants develop a sense of national identity and acknowledge the core value of loving the country and loving Macao.
Meanwhile, Cheong said that the government expected the first phase of a “green promenade” project along the peninsula’s south shore waterfront to be completed at the end of this year and to be open to the public early next year. The first phase runs along a section of the waterfront in Nape near Kun Iam Statue.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Government Information Bureau (GCS)