Govt Moves To Fast Track Fund Requests

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2018-03-22 HKT 15:23

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  • Govt moves to fast track fund requests

The government is putting livelihood-related public works projects at the top of the Finance Committee's agenda, in a bid to pass as many as possible before Legco goes on its summer break.

This was revealed by the committee chairman Chan Kin-por after a meeting with Chief Executive Carrie Lam to discuss ways to speed up the vetting pace.

Chan said some of the 70 projects that are relatively urgent and livelihood-related, such as hospital development and district facilities items, will be dealt with first.

But the chairman said that the Finance Committee has only around 60 meeting hours left this legislative year, and he will ask lawmakers if they agree to directly vote on some items that have already been debated at two of its subcommittees.

Chan denied this will turn the Finance Committee into a rubber-stamp outfit. "I don't think asking if you ask questions for eight hours that means you are better than asking for two hours," he said. "Because if you are asking irrelevant questions, asking policy questions, it won't help to monitor the government at all."

The pan-democrats said this direct-vote suggestion was not mentioned during their meeting with the Chief Executive. The camp's convenor, Charles Mok, said members of the sub-committees had asked for further information on various items to be presented during discussions in the Finance Committee.

"We have to work according to the rules ... I think for many of these items, especially the more controversial items, there is really no reason or justification for by-passing the discussion in the FC."

Pro-democracy lawmakers said they would nevertheless discuss with their pro-establishment rivals how they could pick up their vetting pace.

They said Lam made it clear that she understands that the legislators have a duty to monitor the government, and she had said that she wasn't trying to impose any deadline for the vetting process or demand that discussions are cut short.