CT9 land grants boost funds

Fanny Wong

BILLIONS of dollars in land premiums are expected to be channelled into government funds during the next financial year as the territory reaps the rewards of land grants for the controversial container Terminal 9 (CT9) project.

While China and Britain are still locked in the controversy surrounding the validity of the project, negotiations between the Government and the consortiums for the land grant are going on.

The Secretary for Economic Services, Mrs Anson Chan Fang On-sang, had conceded that China's refusal to recognise the CT9 contract was making it difficult for consortiums to raise funds.

But she and other officials are tight-lipped on whether the financing problem would affect the Government's consideration in setting the premium level for the project whose land lease would be awarded by private treaty grant.

The Director of Buildings and Lands, Mr Darwin Chen, said the land income from the container terminal projects was not included in the Government's estimates for the current financial year ending March 31.

According to the Budget estimates, land premium generated by private treaty grants for the current year would be about $2.75 billion.


However, for the first six months of the year, only $354.7 million, or 13 per cent of the estimated total, has been collected.

The premium income from private treaty grants for the first half of the previous fiscal year was about $2.5 billion against an estimated total for the whole year of $3.7 billion.

Mr Chen said the current situation could be explained as there were three to four major negotiations on private treaty grants still continuing.

He explained that very often, negotiations involved a lot of valuation and it could take longer than six months to conclude.


''The six-monthly figure should only be taken as reference as some of the big land deals may only be concluded until the end of the year,'' he said.

''Even the year-end figure may not be accurate as it depends on the value of the land and the timing of the negotiations.


''We hope that before the end of the financial year, the negotiations can be concluded.'' But he added that there was always the possibility the negotiations might carry on into the next financial year and that would mean the collection of the premiums would be postponed to the next year.