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Macao to subsidize residents with over US$100m
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The government of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Tuesday announced that it will spend over 800 million patacas (around 100 million U.S. dollars) to subsidize local residents, especially those socially disadvantaged, so as to ease the inflation pressures on their daily lives.

The aiding measures will be implemented starting from next month, which include two kinds of allowances subsidizing residents' electricity bills and low-income workers respectively, and those socially disadvantaged will also receive extra financial assistance, according to a statement from the SAR government.

Given Macao's highly liberal economic system, the government lacks effective tools to drive down commodity prices, therefore aiding measures are adopted to enhance residents' payment ability, which is aimed to offset the negative effect of inflation hikes, said Francis Tam Pak Yuen, secretary for economy and finance of the SAR government.

The government estimated that around 180,000 households in Macao will benefit from the electricity bill allowances, under which each household will receive 150 patacas (18.8 dollars) in subsidy every month.

Meanwhile, the government will also grant subsidies to around 16,000 employed local residents whose monthly incomes are lower than 4,000 patacas (around 500 dollars).

In addition, extra financial assistance will also be allocated to around 5,200 local poor families who have been receiving government aids.

(Xinhua News Agency, March 12, 2008)

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