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LCQ19 : No shortage of Government projects

Following is a question by the Hon HO Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Works, Mr Lee Shing-see, at the Legislative Council meeting today (May 8) :


The unemployment statistics for the third quarter of last year have recorded an unemployment rate of over 10% for the construction industry, which is the highest among all industries and trades, and this is partly attributable to redundancies in construction companies or the closing down of such companies, as well as the Government's failure to implement new public works projects on schedule. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of construction companies closed down in each of the past three years;

(b) of the number of new public works projects scheduled for implementation in each of the past three years and, among these projects, the number of those which did not proceed as scheduled;

(c) whether it has assessed if there is any direct relationship between the Government's failure to implement its projects on schedule and the closing down of construction companies; and

(d) of the number of public works projects to be implemented in the coming two years?


Madam President,

(a) The numbers of construction companies that were wound up by the court in the past three years are as follows:

     Year          Number of construction companies

	                   wound up by the court

     1999                           39

     2000                           48

     2001                           55


(b) The number of public works projects originally planned to start and the number of projects which actually commenced in the past three years are as follows:

Financial Number of   Number of  Number of    Total number

Year      projects    projects   additional   of projects

          planned to  in (b)     projects not which

          start in    which      in (b) which commenced

          the Printed actually   commenced    within the

          Estimates   commenced  within the   year 

                      within     year

                      the year

  (a)       (b)          (c)       (d)       (e)=(c)+(d)

1999-2000   114          68        39           107

2000-2001    85          53        45            98

2001-2002   105          77        33           110


It can be seen that whilst some projects were delayed, we had been generally able to expedite the start of some other projects to make up for the loss.

(c) The factors leading to the winding up of a company could be many and varied. As most construction companies also undertake a wide range of private sector works besides public works contracts, we do not consider that the Government's public works programme has any direct relationship to the winding up of construction companies. Moreover, the table at (b) above shows that there has been no shortage of Government projects in the past three years compared with our original targets.

(d) We have scheduled to commence 113 public works projects in the current financial year under the Capital Works Reserve Fund as detailed in the Printed Estimates for 2002/2003. For 2003/2004, we expect to commence about 120 projects.

End/Wednesday, May 8, 2002