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Macao chief executive vows to 'look after' low-income households
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Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) will spare no effort to "support" and "look after" local low-income households in 2009, Ho Hau Wah, the SAR's chief executive, said in his New Year speech on Wednesday.

Extending his New Year's greetings to the people of Macao, Ho said that local economy maintained its stable development in 2008, with the support from China's central government and the concerted efforts made by the local people and the SAR government.

He also said that the SAR government devoted itself to making sure that all of the local residents share the benefits of the economic development, to which the whole society "reacted positively" in 2008.

As for 2009, he said since the global financial crisis is taking its toll on Macao, the government and the residents should be more alert to the crisis's potential risks, and meet the challenges of the New Year. "It is encouraging that the central government has put forward a series of effective measures to support Macao's effort to cope with the crisis, when we are in dire need of help," he said.

The latest statistics showed that Macao, an island city west of Hong Kong and with a population of over 550,000, registered an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent from September to November 2008, which is higher than the 2.9 percent of the same period last year.

He stressed that the SAR government will work with the residents in maintaining the stability of local economic development and strive to promote the diversity of the local economy, which still highly depended on the gaming industry.

(Xinhua News Agency January 1, 2009)

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