Only 5 per cent of the HK$2 billion in public money donated in Hong Kong for post-quake reconstruction in Sichuan province has been allocated to NGOs interested in relief work, according to an agreement signed by the government yesterday. What might have been a chance to build the city's volunteer movement has now turned out to be commercialised tendering activities, some non-governmental organisations have said. NGO representatives have voiced fears that the Hong Kong government would become only a financing agent. Initiatives to help Sichuan survivors overwhelmed the city earlier this year, with many professionals and NGOs wanting to contribute to the reconstruction work. But according to the agreement signed by the Hong Kong and Sichuan governments yesterday, about HK$100 million of the HK$2 billion approved by the Legislative Council in July would be earmarked for NGOs and professional bodies, which are eligible to apply for funding for relief schemes for Sichuan cities. Engineers Without Borders chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak said the agreement did not live up to public expectations. 'The government is likely to be reduced to a financing agent,' he said. 'Engineers who want to volunteer will be discouraged by the decision to tender for reconstruction projects. We will lose a chance to build up volunteerism as social capital.' News of the co-operation was announced a week after the Sunday Morning Post reported that former US president Jimmy Carter had written to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, urging him to speed up the restoration efforts. The Hong Kong government said each project would be capped at HK$10 million, except in special cases. Organisations were advised to build hardware such as social services facilities, or to provide software like vocational training and medical and rehabilitation services. Applicants for government funds must partner a government department or organisation in Sichuan approved by the provincial authorities. They also have to get consent from relevant Sichuan government departments to ensure their projects tie in with the overall planning and needs of the stricken areas. Habitat for Humanity of China expressed interest in applying for the funding, while a spokesman for Oxfam Hong Kong said the group might apply when more projects became necessary. Habitat for Humanity of China chairman Darwin Chen said it would prepare an application soon. It had received approval from town governments in Sichuan about two weeks ago to build more than 800 houses in Pengzhou , Mianzhu and Deyang before winter arrived, he said. He urged the government to earmark more funds for NGOs in the second batch of selected projects. The government stressed that experts would be appointed to monitor projects. Organisations are invited to submit applications from tomorrow for assessment next month.