Progress of the implementation of the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales and enhancement of the various SME funding schemes
Trade and Industrial Organisation Support Fund and BUD Fund
Mr CHAN Chun-ying supported the merging of SDF and BUD(OSP) into one scheme (i.e. TSF) to simplify application procedures and enhance operation efficiency. He enquired how the manpower responsible for vetting, approving and supporting the applications under TSF would be consolidated to enhance efficiency. Noting that a funding of $18 million annually would be provided to HKPC for covering the staff and other operating costs of a dedicated team for programme management, administrative support and project monitoring, Mr CHAN further enquired about the projected increase in manpower for processing applications to be brought by the proposed funding, and suggested disbursing to HKPC the $2.3 million related expenses in terms of professional manpower support to supervise, monitor and review the work of the secretariat, venue rentals and other ancillary technical and support services.
DDGTI(Atg) advised that with the merging of SDF and BUD(OSP) into TSF for better efficiency and identification, it was expected that the total number of applications would remain unchanged and therefore there would be no room for curtailment of the manpower required for processing applications. Currently, the vetting and approving procedure and workflow of SDF and BUD(OSP) was the same and the applications under the two schemes were handled by the same vetting committee. Nevertheless, under the unified TSF, resources for promotion could be consolidated to improve efficiency. She added that the funding of $18 million annually to HKPC would cover the costs of about 19 staff members for the secretariat to implement the enhanced BUD(ESP).
Injection into the Innovation and Technology Fund
Nurturing Technology talent
Mr CHAN Chun-ying opined that the effort to nurture innovation and technology (“I&T”) talent was equally important as the provision of funds for I&T development in Hong Kong. Noting that some 70% of the 3 000 interns supported under the Internship Programme indicated that they would pursue a career in I&Trelated areas, Mr CHAN enquired whether the Administration had carried out any follow-up survey of the interns’ career path to understand whether they had eventually pursued an I&T-related career.
Commissioner for Innovation and Technology (“CIT”) advised that the interns would be surveyed on their career plans at the end of internship. The Administration noted Mr CHAN Chun-ying’s view and would consider the feasibility of undertaking follow-up surveys by cost-effective means. Nevertheless, according to the survey findings of the Census and Statistics Department (“C&SD”), I&T manpower had been growing steadily over the years, which reflected that the Administration’s efforts in nurturing more I&T talent had been effective. The Administration would continue its efforts to nurture and bring together more technology talent.
In respect of the two programmes to be implemented under the proposed five-year pilot Technology Talent Scheme (“TTS”), namely the Postdoctoral Hub Programme (“PHP”) and the Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (“RTTP”), Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired whether funding quota would be set for PHP and RTTP so as to avoid competition for funding between the two programmes, and the respective proportions of the proposed $500 million set aside for TTS to be allocated to PHP and RTTP. Mr CHAN also enquired about the reasons for requiring the Vocational Training Council (“VTC”) to shoulder $6.1 million out of the total cost of $17.7 million for implementing RTTP.
CIT advised that as it was the Administration’s intention to support the recruitment and retention of as many postdoctoral talents as possible to undertake research and development (“R&D”) work in Hong Kong, no funding quota would be set for PHP/RTTP to allow flexibility. CIT added that VTC was currently running a New Technology Training Scheme (“NTTS”) which would be wound down upon the launch of RTTP. VTC had agreed to collaborate with ITF to administer RTTP by redeploying existing resources from NTTS to RTTP.