The new gaming regulator estimates that gross gaming revenue will continue sliding until at least the first half of 2015. The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, said that without much change externally gaming revenue might keep dropping. Following the opening of various new tourism-integrated projects in Cotai, however, gaming revenue and [the increased] number of visitors to Macau may have a positive effect. The government, he said, would closely monitor the situation and adopt a cautious but optimistic attitude.
Secretary Leong said that the government would keep a close eye on the impact on society of the ever-changing economic environment, especially the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises and the labour market. In addition, the government would use this change to continue to promote diversification and encourage more people to use on-the-job training in order to have a better chance to move up the career ladder. He was speaking to reporters after attending the plenary meeting of the Standing Committee for the Co-ordination of Social Affairs on Friday.
Secretary Leong pointed out that the gaming operators are obliged to put more effort into developing non-gaming sectors in order to achieve the diversification of the industry as well as the source of tourists so that the SAR need not rely so heavily on gaming revenue.
“Now that the gaming industry has entered its adjustment phase, we can all better understand the meaning of the Central Government’s instruction to Macau to think of danger in times of soundness and promote economic diversification”, he said. “The current adjustment has pointed out some new directions for enterprises in their operational concept as well as for career planning for the working population”.
He stressed that the government has the responsibility to help local workers get more on-the-job training through contacting, encouraging and supporting relevant enterprises so that employees have more value and multiple professional skills to move forward or even change job to non-gaming sectors.
The Labour Affairs Bureau and Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Centre would enhance their co-operation with gaming operators and associations to tailor training courses that could help employees so that the general quality of Macau’s human resources could be improved, as well.
Lionel Leong added that he has instructed the Labour Affairs Bureau to take a more active role in helping resolve problems affecting labour and capital in the event of a company shutting down or laying off staff, on issues such as debt or owing salaries as well as providing unemployed workers with information and services so that they can find another job.
Regarding non-resident workers issues, Secretary Leong reiterated that the government has always upheld the principle that non-residents should only be imported when local human resources are inadequate. He pledged to keep a close eye on the changes in the labour market and to further discuss the issue through the Standing Committee for the Co-ordination of Social Affairs.
He added that the government would like to build up a relatively scientific system in forecasting the economy trend and the change in gross gaming revenue. He said that the changing gross gaming revenue would affect Macau’s fiscal reserves but that the government had established a stable reserve in the last 15 years, and that he was confident about facing the current adjustment.