The amount in financial support provided by the Macao Foundation (FM) in the first half of this year has decreased by 68 per cent year-on-year to some MOP409.8 million (US$51.3 million), dispatches published at the Official Gazette indicate.
The largest amounts during this six month period were provided to the Macao Science Centre – which received MOP45 million to support its 2020 operational expenses – and The Federal General Commercial Association of Macau Small and Medium Enterprises, which also received MOP45 million to support expenses for activities in 2020.
The Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) also received MOP42 million to cover expenses for the 2019/2020 academic year, including for its university hospital, with the City University of Macau Foundation also receiving MOP36 million to help with the costs of its academic activities, equipment and school support and student allowance plan for the 2019/2020 academic year.
Over the same period of last year, the foundation handed out almost MOP1.2 billion, with the largest amount, some MOP297.8 million, granted to the MUST Foundation to support its 2018/2019 academic year expenses, expand its hospital building, and cover expenses connected to the development of its Faculty of Humanities and Arts building.
In total, the foundation handed out MOP2.4 billion in financial support last year, with almost MOP590 million of it handed to the private Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST).
In March of this year a report published by the Commission of Audit criticised the FM for failing to properly supervise and follow-up the many millions in financial subsidies it hands out annually.
In its response to the report, the FM admitted that in order to ensure good management of the public purse it has to gradually review each of the issues raised and should not consider that it would improve the supervision and proper application of the billions of patacas of subsidies granted annually.
The Macao Foundation is a corporate public body autonomous in administration, finance and assets management, it aims to promote, develop or research on cultural, social, economic, educational, scientific, academic and philanthropic activities, as well as activities that promote Macau.
This year, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai announced that MOP10 billion or about 25 per cent of the foundation’s equity would be used to support the implementation of economic support measures set to alleviate the economic impact of Covid-19.