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Macau’s economy ‘facing new challenges’: Ho

2024-04-30 03:32     BY Tony Wong    Comment:1

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng acknowledged yesterday that Macau’s economic development is “currently facing new challenges”, but he underlined the city’s “promising” development prospects with its economic development “full of vitality, dynamism and potential”.

Ho did not elaborate on the “new challenges”.

The chief executive made the remarks when delivering a speech during a reception at The Plaza Restaurant in Zape marking tomorrow’s International Workers’ Day hosted by the Macau Federation of Trade Unions, commonly known as Gung Luen in Cantonese.

Ho noted that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the 25th anniversary of Macau’s return to the motherland.

Since its return to the motherland, Ho said, Macau has been able to maintain long-term prosperity and stability during which its socioeconomic development has made unprecedented achievements, which, the chief executive said, could not have been possible without every worker’s dedication as well as the initiative, enthusiasm and creativity shown by workers from various industries and occupations.

The Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) was established on December 20, 1999.

Ho, a former businessman and president of the local legislature, also said that Macau’s rapid post-pandemic economic recovery was the result of the concerted efforts by Macau’s working population. 

The chief executive also pointed out that Macau’s statutory minimum wage increased from 32 patacas to 34 patacas per hour on January 1 this year.

Ho, 66, pointed out that during the “two sessions” in Beijing earlier this year, President Xi Jinping stressed the need to promote high-quality development as the top priority and to develop new quality productive forces according to local conditions.

The nation’s two sessions refer to the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in early March.

Ho, a former member of the NPC Standing Committee, noted that developing new quality productive forces requires a high-quality labour force with knowledge, skills and innovation capabilities, underlining that his government is currently pushing ahead with its appropriate economic diversification campaign in compliance with its “1+4” development strategy.

The local government’s 1+4 appropriate economic diversification model, the final version of which was published in November last year, aims to consolidate and diversify the development of the city’s tourism and leisure industry while putting special emphasis on promoting the development of four nascent industries, namely 1) big health, 2) modern finance, 3) high-tech, and 4) MICE and commerce as well as culture and sport.


Spirit of hard work & craftsmanship

In his speech, the chief executive urged all workers to actively participate in Macau’s development with a spirit of hard work and craftsmanship, pledging that his government will continue to support workers in increasing their knowledge and skills, strengthen the training of highly qualified professionals, and improve vocational training, with the aim of constantly increasing local workers’ adaptability and competitiveness.

The government will continue to ensure the full protection of local residents’ employment, Ho said, pledging strict enforcement of its law on the hiring of non-resident workers and a strengthened fight against illegal work.

According to official statistics, both the general unemployment rate (2.1 percent) and the unemployment rate of local residents (2.7 percent) in the first quarter of this year decreased by 0.2 percentage points quarter-on-quarter. Meanwhile, the underemployment rate rose slightly by 0.1 percentage point to 1.5 percent. 

Ho said that his government will constantly promote a harmonious relationship between employers and workers, as well as improve legislation on labour issues in compliance with Macau’s real situation.

The chief executive pointed out that the Legislative Assembly (AL) passed the government-initiated trade union bill in its final reading earlier this month, representing an “important” achievement in an improved legal system, he said.

Macau’s first-ever trade union law will take effect on March 31 next year.

Ho said that the government will further improve Macau’s business environment, support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and strengthen welfare protection for low-income workers.

Ho said he hopes that Gung Luen will continue to actively provide suggestions on government work, as well as work together with the government with the aim of creating a “joyful and harmonious” atmosphere in civil society in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the PRC and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the MSAR.

In addition to Ho, other prominent guests also attended yesterday’s reception such as Central People’s Government Liaison Office in the MSAR Director Zheng Xincong, Foreign Ministry Commissioner Liu Xianfa, and Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) President Kou Hoi In, as well as the local government’s five policy secretaries.


Patriotic trade union

Also delivering a speech, Gung Luen Chairwoman Ho Sut Heng said that with next year’s implementation of Macau’s trade union law, her association will improve its organisational structure with the aim of better fulfilling its long-standing role as a patriotic trade union.

Ho Sut Heng pledged that her association will improve its system and platform on vocational education and training. Gung Luen will makwe full use of the resources created by the ongoing development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, she said. 


Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng delivers a speech during yesterday’s reception at The Plaza Restaurant in Zape marking tomorrow’s International Workers’ Day hosted by the Macau Federation of Trade Unions.
– Photo: GCS

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