Lawmakers to study $12.2b block allocation funding

Lawmakers to study $12.2b block allocation funding

New projects worth $2.79b planned for 2014-15

Construction isn’t all about mega public works projects although these, not surprisingly, tend to hog the lion’s share of attention from the media.

There are also many small projects that require the attention of contractors and consultants.

And the public sector is a big source of these small projects.

Legislators will today study expenditure proposals for the block allocations under the Capital Works Reserve Fund.

According to a paper submitted to the Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the various government departments are seeking funds totalling HK$12.2 billion to meet spending for ongoing and new projects of minor nature for the 2014-15 financial year.

Based on an analysis by Construction Post, the total estimated value of new projects within the block allocation is HK$2.79 billion with spending against these projects during the next financial year expected to be about HK$843 million.

For the civil engineering subhead of spending, the total value of new projects tops HK$874.5 million with landslip preventive measures accounting for HK$537 million of this total.

Under the highways subhead, the Director of Highways is planning ten new projects for the Universal Accessibility Programme with total estimated value of HK$496.7 million.

For the capital subventions subhead, the value of new projects involving improvement works, renovations, and design studies for various universities and schools total HK$334 million whereas spending on new welfare facilities at Housing Authority estates by the Director of Social Welfare is estimated at HK$117 million.

The cost of new projects under the housing subhead for minor housing works, studies and investigations totals HK$209.3 million.

Minor works such as this rain shelter in Feng Kat Heung in Yuen Long are funded by block allocations under the Capital Works Reserve  Fund  (Danny Chung)

Minor works such as this rain shelter in Feng Kat Heung in Yuen Long are funded by block allocations under the Capital Works Reserve Fund (Danny Chung)

Throughout the various subheads, there are quite a few studies and design work for the engineering consultants.

These include planning and engineering studies for reclamation at Sai Kung sewage treatment works, a study on technical issues for potential near shore reclamation at Ma Liu Shui and a feasibility study for the development of organic waste treatment facilities phase 3.

Other consultancy related works include consultant fees and site investigation for land contamination and advance engineering works for the development of Lok Ma Chau Loop and detailed design and site investigation for the first stage of site formation and engineering infrastructure at Kwu Tung North new development area and Fanling north new development area.

The government applies once every year to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for funding on a lump-sum basis for various minor public works.

Upon getting the green light, individual department heads are delegated the power to approve funding subject to a financial ceiling.

This arrangement thus allows legislators to spend more time on the more important and higher value projects where expenditure must be approved on a project-by-project basis.

Danny Chung


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