Following is a question by the Ir Dr Hon HO Chung-tai and an oral reply by the Secretary for Works, Mr Lee Shing-see, in the Legislative Council meeting today (January 23) :
Regarding the 400 infrastructural projects currently under planning and design, will the Government inform this Council of the following:
(a) a breakdown of these projects by category;
(b) the job opportunities expected to be created; and
(c) the annual project estimates for the coming three years?
(a) First of all, the Government's Capital Works Programme as a whole consists of some 1,600 projects. Among them, about 1,200 are projects underway, i.e. these are projects already in Category A. The outstanding investment in these Category A projects is roughly $100 Bn. In addition, there are some 440 projects under planning and design. The outstanding investment in these projects under planning and design is about $300 Bn. Altogether, the Capital Works Programme has an outstanding investment value of roughly $400 Bn.
Our public works projects provide a wide range of public services, including transport, land development, environmental improvements, schools, hospitals, clinics, police stations and other public and Government facilities such as parks, leisure and cultural facilities, community and welfare facilities, etc. According to the nature of projects, we may broadly classify our projects as either engineering projects or building projects. Roughly speaking, among the 440 projects under planning and design, about 250 are engineering projects and 190 are building projects.
(b) We are pushing ahead all the projects with full steam as far as possible so that we can provide our facilities at an earlier time to meet community needs. At the same time, the commencement of new projects will generate new jobs to help boost up employment in Hong Kong. For that purpose, we have planned to upgrade a total of 139 projects under planning and design, in whole or in part, to Category A through the Finance Committee within the 2001/2002 Legislative Session. The total estimated value of these 139 projects is about $110 Bn.
In addition, we are actively implementing some of the new projects using a very fast-tracked programme. Examples are the Shenzhen Western Corridor, the Deep Bay Link, the Final Phase of the School Improvement Programme and 64 new projects for providing leisure and cultural facilities.
In the coming years, we estimate that the ensuing works contracts and consultancy agreements will generate a lot of job opportunities for construction and related sectors. To further enhance employment, we have pledged to increase the expenditure on minor works by about $2 Bn per year in the next two years to improve our existing facilities.
Furthermore, in 2001, we have reviewed our public works procedures and streamlined most of them thus shortening the lead-time for taking a project from inception to works construction. Under the streamlined procedures, the lead-time for commencing a typical engineering works project has been shortened from 6 years to less than 4 years. For a typical building project, the lead-time for commencing construction has been shortened to about 2 years.
Overall speaking, we anticipate that with implementation of the planned projects under the Capital Works Programme, the increase in minor works and the acceleration of project implementation, we shall provide some 48,000 to 50,000 job opportunities on average in the coming 5 years. Among these, about 44,000 are jobs for labourers and the rest for professional and technical personnel.
(c) Due to the various initiatives of more public works projects and acceleration of projects, we estimate that the expenditure on capital works will hover around $25 and $30 Bn per annum in the coming few years. However, I need to stress that this figure is very rough and is only indicative. The actual expenditure will depend on many factors, such as detailed design of the projects after public consultation, the timing of commencing construction, the tender rates and the progress of construction, etc.
End/Wednesday, January 23, 2002