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Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

Task force shaves HK$13 billion off Hong Kong government’s bill for public works

Set up last June, the Project Cost Management Office has reviewed cost estimates for over 60 projects worth HK$170 billion in total

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 10:55am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 10:55am

A cost saving task force set up by the Development Bureau has cut about HK$13 billion from the bill for public works projects in just over a year, the government revealed on Wednesday.

In a written response to a question by lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, Development Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun said the Project Cost Management Office (PCMO) has reviewed the cost estimates of over 60 projects amounting to HK$170 billion and managed to save the administration 7 to 8 per cent, or about HK$13 billion.

The unit was set up in June 2016 by current Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po when he was development secretary. Its task was to try to prevent cost overruns in public works projects, and it has since looked at the construction of government offices, staff quarters, hospitals, schools, parks, roadworks, waterworks and drainage works.

“The challenge of high construction costs has beset Hong Kong for many years. The government is determined to strengthen the cost management of public works projects,” Wong said.

Billions could be shaved off Hong Kong’s huge major projects bill

He said the PCMO’s cost management measures include leading and coordinating the bureaus and works departments.

In August last year, Chan said the PCMO had found nearly 40 projects where cost savings could be made in its first two months, adding that the unit would review 300 public projects being planned or designated in the next three years.

He said capital works expenditure for the development of land, transport network, hospitals, schools and other large-scale infrastructure projects in recent years exceeded HK$70 billion annually, and that spending was expected to remain at similar levels for the next few years.

Cost overruns and delays have plagued some of the city’s major infrastructure works, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou.