The Macao Foundation told Lusa that the drop of around two-thirds in the support provided to institutions in the first half of this year is justified by budgetary rationalization and reduced public department operations as result from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the period from January to June 2020, due to the influence of Covid-19, the associations reduced the requests for financial support to carry out activities”, the institution informed Lusa, whose purpose is the promotion, development and study of cultural, social, economic, educational, scientific, academic and philanthropic actions aimed at promoting Macau.
The institution further explained that, until March, public services had provided limited services because of the epidemic in the territory and that, for that reason, “the progress of the review and funding of subsidies […] were also affected”.
In a first phase, in order to stop the Covid-19 outbreak in February, the authorities of the gambling capital of the world moved towards measures that ended up practically paralyzing the economy, such as the closing of casinos for 15 days in February.
Schools closed, nightlife establishments closed, and the overwhelming majority of civil servants started to work from home.
The Macao Foundation distributed around MOP410 million to institutions in the territory during the first half of this year, a drop of almost 70 per cent when compared to the first six months of 2019.
According to Offical Gazette dispathces, in the second quarter of this year some MOP218.7 million were allocated when compared with the MOP634 million in financial support provided in the same period last year.
Questioned by Lusa, the Foundation explained that the support granted was centred on three characteristics: “social benefits, budgetary rationality and the candidate’s ability to execute”.
“On the other hand, in order to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19”, financing of large agglomerations or involving “the cross-border movement of people” was avoided.
Macau was one of the first territories to identify cases of infection with the covid-19, before the end of January.
The SAR then registered an initial wave of ten cases.
Another 35 cases started in March, all imported, a situation associated with the return of residents, many students in higher education in foreign countries.
Macau did not register any death related to the disease and did not identify any infected among health professionals.