Call for progress on bureau

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 January, 1998, 12:00am

The proposed information technology bureau should be set up as soon as possible and its head appointed before the delivery of the Budget, provisional legislators urged yesterday.

Members of the information technology panel and representatives from related industries criticised slow progress on plans laid out in Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's October policy address.

Deputy Secretary for Economic Services Leo Kwan Wing-wah said they were also waiting for news about the bureau but said the overall number of bureau heads would remain the same.

'The responsibilities of the relevant bureaus would be adjusted so that there will be a policy secretary responsible for all strategies concerning information technology, broadcasting and telecommunications,' Mr Kwan said.

But Privacy Commissioner Stephen Lau Ka-men said the delay had caused a negative impact.

'Any new initiatives which would have been considered and even implemented would be suspended because every department would be waiting for directives or would not want to pre-empt whatever the new bureau secretary would pursue,' Mr Lau said.

Independent legislator Dr Raymond Ho Chung-tai worried that sufficient resources might not be made available if there was no new chief to represent it ahead of the Budget.

'The policy address had highlighted information technology as one of the administration's priorities, but we haven't seen anything concrete yet,' Dr Ho said.

Mr Kwan said the relevant departments had already predicted the expenses they predicted the new bureau to incur and had included them in their own budgets.