Capital Works Reserve Fund Head 710 Computerization Subhead A007GX (Block Allocation) – New Administrative Computer Systems: 2020-2021 Estimates of Expenditure
Funding requirement for 2020-2021
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted from Annex A to the Administration’s paper (LC Paper No. CB(1)120/19-20(02)) that the project estimates for the items of “contingency” and “others” under the Block Allocation for 2020-2021 had increased by 19.7% and 23.1% respectively. He enquired why the proposed percentage increase of the said two items was significantly higher than that of the other categories, particularly the “others” category which had the highest increase by percentage. He further sought details of the items under the “others” category.
Government Chief Information Officer (“GCIO”) explained that the proposed percentage increases in the provision for “contingency” and “others” were higher than those of other categories due to the relatively small base values of provision for the two items. The estimates for “contingency” for 2020-2021 were $85 million, which represented an increase by 19.7% from the approved provision of $71 million for 2019-2020. The percentage change in the estimates for “contingency” was in fact similar to the growth of other categories. Similarly, the estimates for “others” category for 2020-2021 amounted to $64 million, representing an increase of 23.1% as compared with the allocation of $52 million in 2019-2020. This category covered various expenditure items arising from site preparation, communication network and cabling works, etc. GCIO also highlighted that, taking into consideration the increasing adoption of cloud services by government departments, the proposed allocation for the “implementation services” category had increased significantly from $388 million in 2019-2020 to $455 million in 2020-2021.
Development of electronic payment systems
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that some government departments had adopted the Faster Payment System (“FPS”) and common QR codes launched by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to facilitate convenient payments of tax, rates, government rents, and water charges. He welcomed the Administration’s initiative to extend this service to other government departments progressively, including the Transport Department (“TD”), the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Customs and Excise Department. Mr CHAN asked about the number of government services which had not yet adopted FPS, and the timetable for full adoption of FPS in government services.
GCIO advised that, depending on the public acceptance of FPS and its usage in government fees payments, the Administration might extend FPS to other government services. While the Administration did not have a definite timetable on the full adoption of FPS in government services, shroff counters of three government departments would accept FPS payments starting from the first half of 2020.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that since the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong had been published in December 2017, the Administration provided funding to support about 70 technology projects proposed by 28 departments through the TechConnect to promote the use of technology to enhance operational efficiency and improving public services. He recalled that the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau had explored possible modifications to its current system to facilitate the granting of rates concession. Mr CHAN asked whether the Administration had any plans to implement the system enhancement works and what the progress was regarding computer support systems for connecting different user departments.
GCIO replied that the Administration had attached due importance to driving the development of cross-departmental services and building digital infrastructure and facilities. For example, OGCIO was establishing the Next Generation Government Cloud Infrastructure (“Next Generation GovCloud”) to enable bureaux/departments (“B/Ds”) to share resources and enhance operational efficiency. OGCIO was also promoting the adoption of “iAM Smart” among B/Ds to enable the public to log in and use various e-Government services through a single authentication means.