Macau (MNA) – The plenary session of the Legislative Assembly (AL) on Thursday passed the first reading of the vehicle tax relief scheme for owners who have their vehicles damaged by Typhoon Hato last year, despite some criticisms that were raised by a few legislators opining that the scheme does not effectively relieve affected owners.
The scheme, which took over six months for the Macau SAR Government to complete for deliberation at the AL, only benefits affected vehicle owners who are planning to purchase new vehicles.
The scheme suggested that if an owner wishes to purchase a new vehicle within two years of the implementation of the scheme, tax for the new vehicle will be deducted by an amount calculated according to the tax previously paid for the damaged vehicle, after it is rounded off according to the net value rate representing the years that the damaged vehicles have been used.
Legislator Lam Iok Fong raised the point that there are affected owners who are still paying off loans for their damaged vehicles, arguing that owners might need to pay off two loans if the scheme is implemented without the consideration of such situation.
“This scheme is a penalising kind of benefit for [the affected owners],” remarked Ms. Lam.
Sharing a similar opinion with Ms. Lam, legislator Au Kam San questioned the reason for not proposing a scheme that allows affected owners to have their paid vehicle tax rebated according to the net value of the years that the damaged vehicles were used.
In response, Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac strongly reiterated that the scheme is not a means to compensate affected owners.
“[This scheme] is for those, in particular families, who were affected and are in need of a vehicle […] it is not a tax rebate policy,” said the Secretary.
According to the director of the Financial Service, Iong Kong Leong, the scheme will involve some MOP147 million.
The Secretary also apologised for the lengthy preparation of the scheme, with Director Iong explaining that a lot of opinions exchanged between the DSF and the Transport Bureau.