The Government has been criticised for spending millions of dollars on consultancy studies that lawmakers say could have been done by civil servants. Bureaus say they have briefed out, or are preparing to brief out, dozens of studies to private firms on the grounds that they have limited resources and need to seek expert advice. Figures tabled to Legco yesterday showed the Commerce and Industry Bureau and its related agencies organised 50 consultancy studies for last year and this year at a cost to taxpayers of $59 million. These include two projects worth $4.5 million to strengthen the SAR's role as an international maritime centre and logistics hub. The Home Affairs Bureau has commissioned 28 studies at a cost of more than $10 million during the same period, ranging from opinion surveys on how well people received last October's Policy Address to the design of a footpath on the outlying island of Peng Chau. The Economic Services Bureau plans at least two consultancy studies on electricity supply and on tourism facilities. At a series of Legco special briefings on the budget details yesterday, Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier accused officials of not doing their job. She said the business sector had complained that Hong Kong was being run by consultants rather than bureaucrats. Secretary for Commerce and Industry Chau Tak-hay was adamant that the money had been well spent. He said that internal manpower was limited and that officials might have to seek expertise from the private sector on detailed arrangements from time to time.