As Vice-President of the Youth Entrepreneurs Association and a candidate for legislator in this year’s Legislative Assembly (AL) elections, Jorge Valente wants the electoral list he’s part of to better voice concerns of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the MSAR’s legislative branch.
“There are many legislators from the business area in the AL but in reality they don’t represent SMEs,” Mr. Valente told Business Daily.
The entrepreneur is currently running in the ‘Alliance for Change’ electoral list headed by Melinda Chan, a current legislator and also wife to the CEO of local gaming operator Macau Legend Development Ltd, David Chow Kam Fai.
The President of the Macau Travel Industry Council, Andy Wu Keng Kuong, joins Valente and Chan as a candidate on the number 18 electoral list.
According to Mr. Valente, the electoral list candidates want to focus on problems that are “making it harder for SMEs to survive” such as human resources and the high costs currently associated with hiring.
“The current system for issuing work permits for non-residents is not transparent in defining the percentage of overseas workers a company can hire,” he told Business Daily.
Mr. Valente considered that the percentage of non-residents allowed to work should be defined clearly for each business sector, detailing how many work permits they might apply for.
The process for providing business licences should also be “shortened” and “simplified”, with the candidate to legislator telling Business Daily that licences should be provided in a “one month period”.
More than typhoon relief
The businessman considered that the aid schemes provided by the MSAR government to SMEs which suffered damage from Typhoon Hato are welcome but that the real amount of losses incurred would be higher than that estimated by the government.
“The response has been good in terms of emergency measures in regard to support for SMEs but this is only one step for supporting the damages of a disaster. Not everything can be resolved by just handing out money, since it’s already hard to calculate the level of damage an individual business suffered, with losses not being just material but related to the stoppage in activity and loss of clients,” he added.
As of September 6, a total of 10,869 applications for post-typhoon support had been received by the Macao Economic Services (DSE), with 3,499 having been approved, amounting to some MOP175 million (US$21.8 million).
The Macau government estimates that the total direct and indirect losses caused by Typhoon Hato so far amount to MOP11.47 billion.
Recycling public employees
The candidate also considers that better training could be provided by the government to employees in the public sector, as well as allowing a more frequent renewal of public employees to be considered.
“There should be a larger ‘recycling’ of workers in the public sector and more and better training for the long term,” Mr. Valente stated.
The electoral list’s political programme also states that the current monopolies on public contracts related to services such as public transport, telecommunications, water supply and electricity should be ‘broken’ with concession contracts reviewed.
In terms of tourism development, the list states it will propose to the MSAR government measures to respond to the flow of tourists during peak seasons, implement an operating model for ‘one border, two checks’ at customs, and promote the construction of new access points between Guangdong and Macau.