By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The less than 50-percent execution rate of public investment plan (PIDDA) over the past three years was largely due to the lawsuits or objection statements initiated against public projects, the Government explained to lawmakers yesterday.
The Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly is deliberating the 2009 Budget Performance Report and in the previous meeting questioned the Government about the poor execution rate of PIDDA expenditure in recent years.
From 2007 to 2009, the rates were reported at respectively 43.8 percent, 41.5 percent and 45.1 percent, president of the standing committee Chan Chak Mo told reporters after yesterday’s meeting with secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen and other officials.
Chan said chief of the Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) Chan Hon Kit had explained that there were three main reasons that contributed to the large discrepancy between the actual implementation rate and the PIDDA expenditure proposed by the Government in the yearly Budget Plan.
Public projects must go through tenders but during the tender process, bidders initiated lawsuits or put forward a statement of objection which eventually forced the projects to be suspended indefinitely, the GDI chief is said to have told lawmakers.
Some projects for example public housing construction that needed to increase the building height after the initial blueprint was completed also caused delays in the implementation of the Government’s investment and development plans, he added.
Moreover, he said sometimes changes had to be made in the plans with more data and details available as times went by.
Yet the GDI chief admitted that these situations were a result of a lack of thorough planning.
Therefore he promised the standing committee that the Government will learn from the experience and strive to enhance the accuracy of the PIDDA expenditure in a bid to better reflect the reality, Chan Chak Mo revealed.
Nevertheless, the Identification Bureau and the Economic Services Bureau had in particularly reported a PIDDA execution rate of over 70 percent, the standing committee president said.
He added that in the future the Government will disclose to the standing committee the reasons for the low execution rate of public projects worth MOP 10 million or above.
On the other hand, Chan Chak Mo told reporters that the secretary has promised to categorise the “accumulated reserve balance” as surplus in the following year, so that when the Government needs to use the balance it will have to hand in a report to the legislature requesting approval.