China's Macao Special Administration Region (SAR) government Monday announced that it had reached a consensus with China's Sichuan provincial government over the initial 17 reconstruction projects in the quake-hit province.
The SAR government said in a press statement that these 17 projects included the rebuilding of Sichuan peasants' dwellings, infrastructure, education, health and social community facilities, etc. which was worth 1.17 billion yuan ($167 million).
On August 16, a Macao official delegation, headed by the SAR's Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Chui Sai On, flew to Sichuan to discuss the coordination of the SAR's funding of the reconstruction projects. The delegation of 17 members returned to Macao on Monday.
Based on the opinions of the Sichuan provincial government, and the current situation of the peasants' living conditions in the province after the earthquake, the SAR government decided to give priority to the rebuilding of these peasant's dwellings, according to the statement.
The statement quoted Chui as saying that the SAR government would actively participate in the preparation works of these projects and work closely with relevant departments in Sichuan, making sure that every project would conform to the national standard and regulations.
Previously, the SAR's Chief Executive Ho Hau Wah announced that his government would spend 5.5 billion patacas ($688 million) in the next three to five years funding the rebuilding of quake-stricken Sichuan.
Chui emphasized that all of the projects would be open to public bidding and their costs would be paid on an installment basis, and the two sides would jointly supervise these projects, so as to ensure the projects' safety quality and the funds be used properly.
As for the two sides' tourism cooperation, Chui said that the two governments had made a number of agreements, including inviting officials of Sichuan's tourism authorities to advertise its products in Macao and establishing bilateral tourist service platform.
To support the SAR government's move to help Sichuan rejuvenate its tourism, local flagship airline, Air Macao, resumed its direct flight service to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, on August 16 as a measure to help boost visitor arrivals to Sichuan. The airline also said that it would operate three flights to Chengdu starting from September this year.