Urban renewal body financially fit

Urban renewal body financially fit
Secretary for Development Paul Chan says there is no need for the Government to inject capital into the Urban Renewal Authority as it is financially healthy.

Mr Chan was replying to a question in the Legislative Council today. He said the authority has an accumulated surplus of about $13.9 billion and a net asset value of about $23.9 billion, according to its audited accounts at the end of March 2014.

Though a deficit of about $2.3 billion was recorded in 2013-14, the authority has projected that its financial position will improve in 2014-15 because a number of projects were successfully tendered in mid to late 2014 while a tender invitation for another project is underway, he said.

Mr Chan said the authority is studying a proposal in the Chief Executive’s Policy Address for it to explore participating in the supply of subsidised sale flats. It will discuss this with the Government when more concrete proposals are available.

Building rehabilitation is one of the authority’s core businesses, he noted, and in the past few years, it has recruited additional manpower to cope with work in this area.

With the gradual completion of rehabilitation projects under an initiative to provide assistance for the maintenance and repair of buildings aged 30 years or above, the authority’s manpower can be gradually released to support other rehabilitation initiatives in the next two to three years, he added.

To deploy its manpower in a more cost-effective manner, the authority will re-deploy staff and make use of information technology to carry out rehabilitation work, Mr Chan said.

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