Plans are in hand to set up a new government department based on the existing Public Assets Supervision and Planning Office (GPSAP) to oversee Macao’s public enterprises in a “unified” manner.
Directly-elected lawmaker-cum-unionist Ella Lei Cheng I, who chairs the Legislative Assembly’s 1st Standing Committee, made the announcement after yesterday’s closed-door committee meeting which reviewed a government-initiated bill regulating the operation and supervision of the city’s public enterprises.
The bill aims to ensure that the public enterprises’ decision-making process will always be supervised by the government – which holds some or all of their shares – and also to assure the “rational” use of the public coffers.
According to the bill, the supervision authority would have seven powers, including protecting public funding interests in order to avoid undue loss of funds, requiring public enterprises to establish and improve their internal governance and monitoring systems and setting up binding norms and guidelines. The future authority would also have the power to obtain relevant documents and information on public enterprises through various measures.
The bill also proposes that the public enterprises and their subsidiaries must publish information on the remunerations of their board members appointed by the chief executive and on the performance of their business, in addition to continuing to publish information such as on their organisational structure and major procurement projects, as well as the continued release of annual reports.
Lei pointed out that this is proposed to make public enterprises’ information more open and transparent so that civil society can monitor them.
However, public enterprises and their subsidiaries in which the government has only a small share can refer to the relevant provisions for information disclosure, and it is not mandatory for them to disclose additional information.
Lei also pointed out that the provisions on the operation of public enterprises, evaluation of their business performance and auditing do not apply either to public enterprises in which the government only has a minor share.
The bill is proposed to take effect 60 days after its promulgation in the Official Gazette, after it has been passed by lawmakers.
According to the GPSAP, there are currently 23 publicly-funded companies in Macao. In 16 of the companies the government holds over 50 per cent of the shares, The Macau Post Daily reported.