Macau Government creates investment fund to diversify economy

The government of Macau - the world"s largest gambling hub - plans to create an investment and development fund in a bid to diversify the economy, Chief Executive Chui Sai On said on Thursday.

Sai On said the fund would "elevate the value of the financial reserve and the planning of investments in cooperation projects" related to China's Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, which aims to link Hong Kong, Macau and nine Guangdong province cities.

At a plenary session at parliament, Sai On also said the government would draw up measures to attract highly skilled people in order to respond to the lack of professionals in the city.

Macau's economy depends strongly on the gambling industry. In 2018, direct taxes from gambling - 35% of gross revenue - accounted for 79.6% of total public revenues in Macau, according to official figures by the authorities.

In an attempt to show the government's ability to invest in the fund, which will be created in mid-September, Sai On said that by January this year, its basic and extraordinary financial reserves totalled 569.54 billion patacas (€62.362 billion), while the exchange reserve sat at 163.25 billion patacas (€17.875 billion) at the beginning of the year.

In relation to the Greater Bay projects, in cooperation with Guangdong, Sai On said Macau participated in a total of 49 projects which "encompass interventions and cooperation at different levels."

At the beginning of June 2018, the government of Macau released a note explaining its management of funds invested in the construction project of the Greater Bay Area.

The former Portuguese colony will disburse 20 billion renminbi (around €2.5 billion) for this project for 12 years and will see a yearly turnover of 3.5%.

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