24 new directorate posts planned
The government is planning to create 24 directorate posts to implement initiatives mapped out in the chief executive's policy address, despite looming budget deficits.
A further three directorate-level jobs are also under consideration.
According to the directorate pay scale, the jobs could involve monthly salaries of between HK$103,400 and HK$151,200.
Lawmakers expressed concerns over the plan, outlined yesterday, saying that the use of taxpayers' money needed serious and cautious consideration, particularly in tough economic times.
Government officials expect a budget deficit this financial year, and say the situation might not improve next financial year.
The Civil Service Bureau delivered its directorate post proposals for the 2008-09 legislative session in a paper to the Legislative Council's establishment subcommittee.
Of the 24 proposed posts, eight will be permanent directorate posts while the remaining 16 will be supernumerary posts. The government also plans to delete two existing posts which are no longer needed.
'To take forward the new initiatives set out in the 2008-09 policy address and agenda and other initiatives, we will need additional manpower resources at the directorate level,' the paper says.
Two permanent directorate posts have been proposed for the Development Bureau to support cross-boundary infrastructure planning and harbourfront work.
Co-operation with Guangdong over the infrastructure planning will include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, construction of which will begin no later than 2010.
A supernumerary directorate post was proposed for the Food and Health Bureau to support food safety work.
Subcommittee member Cheung Man-kwong, of the Democratic Party, challenged the timing of the plan. 'It is a large-scale job-creation plan. The government should consider the whole thing politically, as the economy may not recover within a short period of time.'
Unless new duties were involved, Mr Cheung said the government should consider creating new posts while deleting others to maintain zero growth at the directorate level.
Fellow subcommittee member Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Legco should handle proposals with special caution, while adding that lawmakers should not stop the government from creating posts which could help to boost economy.