Changing shortsighted policies

It’s not just the gaming operators who complain, although covertly, about the increasing difficulties they experience while trying to recruit skilled workers and renewing existing blue cards for skilled employees. Many other companies are now also complaining. We just don’t understand the long term strategy behind these restrictive measures. If the goal is to force companies to promote local workers to top positions, then it’s not only an inconsequent form of pressure, but also an unacceptable instrument of interference from the government. It’s inconsequent because all companies, local and foreign, are interested in promoting local human resources. This is true for a number of reasons, including better ties to the local society, better return from human investment and better public image. And it’s an unacceptable interference because the government should worry about the bad things in the public administration first – lack of transparency; goods and services being adjudicated irregularly; clear signs of cronyism; the inability to implement long term strategies – instead of blackmailing companies with forced promotions that offer quotas and blue card renewals. Let’s be clear: when you promote just to please some government department, you’ll just be contributing to a less than healthy work environment, thus compromising final results. Yes, locals should be promoted, if they have the quality and vocation and if they compete at the same level as foreign workers. It is current practice and it is common sense. More than irrational, forcing inadequate promotions, with unclear objectives that foretell nothing good, at a time when the city still can’t keep up with rising demand, it’s an irresponsibility that must have a face. For a long time now, no-one has taken responsibility for bad government decisions. The least we expect is for the courage to assume responsibility publicly, explaining the reasoning and the advantages that we are unable to find. A few days ago, on a projected 2017 scenario of combined Macau property EBITDA of US$1.1 billion (MOP8.79 billion), Deutsche Bank concluded that all Macau operations are seen as unable to adjust to the changing ‘Macau climate given the future hiring needs’, with ‘further cost mitigation efforts’. With the new Cotai mega-projects opening soon, the government is on the right path to creating serious problems with these shortsighted policies. It’s not too late to change, but it needs to happen now, with determination, courage and resistance to exaggerated populist stances that may limit the harmonious growth we all look forward to.