Macau Unveils Largest Stimulus Package to Date, Residents to Receive $1,250

Posted on: March 16, 2021, 10:08h. 

Last updated on: March 16, 2021, 11:21h.

The Macau government is opening up its deep pockets to provide residents with stimulus money and vouchers in an effort to jump-start the enclave’s economic recovery.

Macau stimulus casino resorts gambling
Macau’s poor neighborhoods are seen outside the glitzy casino resorts located downtown. The area government is providing residents with stimulus money to encourage domestic spending. (Image: Reuters)

The third stimulus round announced by the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) is its largest. Macau officials confirmed this week that permanent residents will receive a one-time cash disbursement of MOP$10,000 (US$1,250). Non-permanent residents will receive MOP$6,000 (US$750). 

The relief doesn’t end there. Macau will also be issuing electronic vouchers to all residents. Each adult, as well as university students, will initially receive MOP$600 (US$75). The vouchers can be used anywhere on the peninsula.

This round of stimulus package demands a combined effort of the government and society in a bid to generate a more efficient and lasting cycled economic benefits in Macau,” stated Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s secretary for economy and finance. 

Macau residents can receive additional e-vouchers if they spend their initial $75 within 15 days of receipt. Macau says residents are eligible for up to five electronic coupons.

Regional Stimulus, Tax Breaks

Macau’s economic prosperity relies on its gaming and hospitality industries. The region’s six licensed commercial casino operators generate almost 90 percent of the SAR’s annual tax revenue.

But with visitor numbers still low, Macau is asking its own people to get out and spend. The government is additionally providing relief for numerous businesses and industries.

For the casino sector, Macau is waiving a five-percent tourist tax on its hotel income. The relief runs through the end of the year. Locals who stay at a hotel during that time will also be credited MOP$200 (US$25) by the government. 

While a $25 credit might not seem like a strong incentive for a Macau resident to stay overnight at one of the region’s four- or five-star hotels, with incoming foreign travel remaining at a standstill, room rates are cheap. A midweek stay next week at City of Dreams, Studio City, Sofitel, and Sheraton are all under $70 a night. 

Macau is also using this time to encourage locals to further their education. Macau’s Labour Affairs Bureau is offering employees in the gaming industry a MOP$5,000 (US$625) subsidy upon completion of certain programs and courses. 

The educational assistance is part of Macau’s effort to diversify its workforce, and ideally, lessen its dependency on gaming in the future.

Spending to Revive Economy

The Macau government says it has set aside MOP$29.2 billion (US$3.65 billion) for the stimulus programs. The one-time cash allocations to residents are expected to cost around $910 million.

Macau will collect some of the money back by way of taxes. The stimulus package is designed to drive domestic spending and stabilize the economy. 

There are, however, critics. Some local lawmakers believe the package was rushed, and that the e-voucher scheme won’t benefit the enclave’s impoverished population. Despite Macau being a vastly wealthy area, and having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, there is a large segment of residents who are poor. 

“There are many limitations upon the usage of the e-vouchers. The scheme favors those who are financially able, instead of those who are scraping by and cannot afford daily expenses in Macau,” opined lawmaker Agnes Lam.