Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Preliminary Response to the Budget

Here is my preliminary response to the Government's Budget 2009-2010.
  • The Budget has failed to take advantage of the financial downturn to plan for Hong Kong's long-term future by investing in our technology industry and furthering our integration with the regional Pearl River Delta economy.

  • There is also a lack of initiatives to assist SMEs, especially those in the ICT sector. Our call for expanding Continuing Education Fund (CEF) to cover ICT and replenishing the SME Education Fund are ignored.

  • I have proposed the Ten Information Infrastructure Projects to the Financial Secretary, and I am glad to see that Government IT spending under OGCIO has been increased (18.2%), and the Government has committed $840 million for 3 years for the development of a territory-wide electronic health record. Also, my proposal for the e-citizen account will be materialized under the MyGovHK implementation.

  • However, I am disappointed to see that other major proposals were not taken up, in particular, in intelligent transport, education and food safety, etc. My proposal to hire one IT assistant per school to generate over 1,000 jobs in IT was not taken up.

  • I will continue to monitor Government to make sure that our ICT industry benefits from the increase, and procurement policy problems are properly addressed and improved.

  • I am disappointed that the Government has not acted on industry calls to strengthen our core areas of technology infrastructure, including information security, and developing Hong Kong as a wireless city.

  • While the Government has expressed that it will explore the feasibility of Phase 3 of the Hong Kong Science Park, it has not addressed industry call to plan and allocate land for the long-term development of data centers, which has been facing critical shortage of spaces, and will surely deteriorate sharply when the economy bounces back.

  • In the area of digital inclusion, I welcome the Government's proposal to develop an elderly portal, but the efficiency and objectives of the educational programme to “teach young Internet users to use the Internet appropriately and safety” for $63 million is uncertain. In fact, that amount is almost enough to hire one IT assistant for half of the schools in Hong Kong, which will be of much more use to schools, teachers and students.


At 9:28 AM, Blogger Henry Chan said...

Hi, all,

My comments are so similar to the suggestions from Charles Mok.

1. Schools should have IT staffs. It is not wise to have large funds for educating elders to use computer and internet. This is because you may need to train them many years to learn how to use the mouse. Touch screen computer may help the elders to use computer and internet.

2. For the medical streams, it is good to at least include new hi-tech for medical areas, MIT (Medical Information Technology), medical engineering and computational medicine. This may integrate with the regional Pearl River Delta development and/or Science Park.

3. MyGovHK implementation can start from the MyLibHK first. The library portal can include the district information, Government information, Library information, University Library information, Knowledge economy information and etc.

4. I would like to say the establishment of IT training and development for schools and SME Agency. The funding can be coming from Continuing Education Fund (CEF).

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Henry Chan said...

Hi, all,

Today, I just note that the most innovatively competitive nation was Singapore, which embarked on a national innovation strategy years ago, investing heavily and recruiting leading scientists and technologists from around the world. (

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Henry Chan said...

Hi, all,

British efficiency expert Peter Gershon, commissioned to review government technology spending, found that rationalising data centres in government departments and agencies would save $1 billion over 10 years. I suppose that it is talking about the Australian Government and the money should be in Australian Dollar because the information is coming from Australian newspaper.


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