June 16, 2022
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government’s restructuring plan was passed by lawmakers on Wednesday, and will see the current 13 bureaus be expanded to 15, and the introduction of three deputy secretaries in its top-level design.
Of the 80 lawmakers who attended the meeting, 77 cast their vote of approval. The restructuring plan is expected to take effect on July 1, when the new-term government officials are sworn into office.
According to the plan, a new Culture, Sports, and Tourism Bureau will be set up and the Transport and Housing Bureau will be split into two separate bureaus to take care of transport and housing related affairs respectively. Four other bureaus will be renamed and reconstructed.
Including the three deputy secretaries, the next government will have 70 additional posts
Voting in favor of the plan, the chairwoman of the New People’s Party Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said that the government structures should keep pace with the times.
She said she believes that the new deputy secretaries can share the burden of three secretaries and propel major government plans such as the Northern Metropolis blueprint, which aims to reinvigorate the city’s northern border area and build it into a thriving development hub.
Starry Lee Wai-king, who chairs the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the largest political party in the city, also expressed support for the bill.
She said she hopes the reshuffle will bring a fresh look to the government’s administration, and will involve deeper ties with local communities to listen to their needs and explain policies, and closer interaction with lawmakers to consult on their opinions earlier.
Also backing the plan, Lam Kin-fung, vice-chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, expressed the hope that the job responsibilities of the three deputy secretaries could be revealed as soon as possible, so that they could be placed under the supervision of lawmakers and the public
Including the three deputy secretaries – namely a deputy chief secretary for administration, a deputy financial secretary, and a deputy secretary for justice – the next government will have 70 additional posts.
The restructure is expected to incur additional expenditure of HK$120 million ($15.29 million) annually, of which HK$95 million will be used in salaries for the new posts.
Funding for the reshuffle was approved by the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee on June 10.
The restructuring plan will help the government be more focused, create better synergies, and form a clear division of labor among government departments, chief executive-designate John Lee Ka-chiu said on May 17 after the plan was approved by the city’s Executive Council.