The week ahead May 11

Director of Audit slams the high vacancy rate in cooked food markets and the Government says no to establish public primary schools in Shenzhen.

May 11  Monday

 

Cooked food hawker bazaars recorded high vacancy rate

Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man and several other senior officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department testify at the public hearing of the Public Accounts Committee on the latest Director of Audit’s report on cooked food markets.

There are currently a total of 75 public cooked food markets, comprising 11 Cooked Food Hawker Bazaars (CFHBs), 25 Cooked Food Markets (CFMs) and 39 Cooked Food Centres (CFCs). The report criticised the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for not taking “timely action” to deal with the “decreasing number of licensed hawkers operating in CFHBs and an increasing number of vacant CFHB stalls over time”. 11 CFHBs were found to have a vacancy rate of 61% on average, with the largest two having a vacancy rate of 75% and 81%. Of the total of 144 vacant stalls in these 11 CFHBs, 114 (79%) stalls had been vacant for over 10 years.

Dr Ko describes the high vacancy rate a natural occurrence due to the Government has stopped issuing new hawker license since 1972. He also points out that the CFHBs are only temporary measures and agrees that those bazaars which have a high vacancy rate should be re-developed.

 

Government says no to create publicly-funded primary schools in Shenzhen

Panel on Education today will discuss issues concerning cross-boundary students and to establish publicly-funded primary schools in Shenzhen. The number of cross-boundary students have risen from 9,899 in the 2010/11 school year to 24,990 in 2014/15. However, the Government notes that the surge is only temporary and the “zero delivery quota” implemented in 2013 will cause the number to fall. The Education Bureau also projects the overall demand of Primary One school places will decrease from 2019/20 onwards. “Setting up publicly-funded primary schools in Shenzhen is neither a viable nor desirable option to address the transient problem of a surge in cross-boundary students in Shenzhen,” the Bureau writes in its papers to LegCo.

 

 

 

May 12 Tuesday

 

LegCo to discuss the remuneration and expense reimbursement

Subcommittee on Members’ Remuneration and Operating Expenses Reimbursement will discuss the Draft Report on the Review of Members’ Remuneration and Operating Expenses Reimbursement.

The total amount of Operation Expenses Reimbursement for members’ staff in 2013-2014 is $138,774 per month and has increased to $144,048 last year. The Draft Report includes survey results from 41 members. 41% (17 Members) agree to increase the salary of the Chairman of Finance Committee to be on par with the Chairman of the House Committee, which is one and a half times of the monthly payment of other members.

 

Political reform package to be discussed in LegCo

Subcommittee on Proposals on the Method for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 will meet with the Government officials. Last time, only Raymond Tam attended the meeting as Carrie Lam was in Europe and Rimsky Yuen was occupied with other works.

 

Government creates task force to monitor Third Runway project

Establishment Subcommittee will discuss the following staffing proposals:

  • Proposed creation of three temporary posts of one Principal Government Engineer, one AO and one Chief Engineer in the Airport Expansion Project Coordination Office under the Transport Branch of Transport and Housing Bureau for about three years to head the Office for steering and coordinating the related work of the Three-Runway System project. Monthly salary of the Principal Government Engineer ranges from $168,300 to $183,700; $144,700 to $158,250 for the AO; and $121,900 to $133,300 for the Chief Engineer.
  • Proposed retention of a temporary post of Chief Engineer for a maximum period of four years and six months in the Railway Development Office of Highways Department to continue providing support to and monitoring the completion of the Hong Kong section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link project by the MTR Corporation Limited. Monthly salary of the post ranges from $121,900 to $133,300.

 

 

May 13 Wednesday

 

$1,550 million for a new government office

Construction proposals to discuss:

  • $1,549.9 million for relocating the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at Sai Yee Street to Yen Ming Road, West Kowloon Reclamation Area.
  • $137.1 million for refurbish and upgrade the Sha Tin Transfer Station.

 

 

Filibustering continues

The Council will continue to discuss the 618 amendments on the Appropriation Bill. Last Friday, discussion was drawn on the 125 amendments concerning economic development, commercial and financial affairs, IT and transportation issues.

 

 

May 15 Friday

 

Finance Committee to approve $1.4 billion for Smart ID card

Discussion will continue on the $1,448,786,000 funding for implementing the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System.