Appeal to the CE for support to the Construction Industry
The Government will launch a new round of the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) to provide time-limited financial support to employers to retain their employees who would otherwise be made redundant. In the tentative plan, building contractors employing more than 50 people are excluded from the Scheme. I wrote to CE on 21 March and urged the authorities to review the plan and to support the contractors who are affected adversely by the breaking of the Work Chain, Supply Chain and Capital Chain.
Extension of time for government works contracts and building covenant period under land leases
The Development Bureau announced on 14 March its decision to grant extension of time to government works contracts and the building covenant (BC) period under land leases of private development projects having regard to the impact on the development and construction sectors caused by the fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic. The Development Bureau announced that, for all government works contracts in progress, the Government will flexibly handle requests from contractors for extension of time due to the impact of this wave of the epidemic, for up to a maximum period of six months; and for all leases with unfulfilled BC as at today,
the original expiry of the BC period may be extended at nil premium by up to six months. I welcome the decision and hope to minimise unease and pressure that may be generated by the existing contractual deadlines and BC periods.
Funding projects approved at the FC meeting
At the FC meeting on 18 March, members approved a total allocation of $21.8 billion for 2022-23 for the block allocations under the Capital Works Reserve Fund. Another funding project of $104.4 million was approved for construction of public transport interchange and carrying out associated road improvement works to support the proposed public housing development at Tak Tin Street.
Temporary Protection Measures for Business Tenants (COVID-19 Pandemic) Bill
The Temporary Protection Measures for Business Tenants (COVID-19 Pandemic) Bill (“the Bill”) was introduced into the LegCo to provide business tenants of specified sectors with temporary protection measures, thereby helping them tide over short-term financial difficulties arising from the impact of COVID-19 epidemic. The Bill was published in the Gazette on 18 March and received its First Reading at the LegCo meeting of 23 March. I joined the Bills Committee in March.
Met the decoration industry and listened to their concerns
In order to understand the impact of the COVID-19 on the decoration industry, I met representatives of the Hong Kong Decoration and Engineering Association and listened to their concerns. The association conducted a survey and submitted the result to the Government to reflect the industry’s hardships under the epidemic and put forward feasible suggestions to support the industry. I hope the Government can solve the urgent needs of the industry, so that the future development of the decoration industry can return to the right track as soon as possible.
Launched the "Doctor see talk" home-based anti-epidemic video consultation service
Together with more than 20 medical professionals, we arranged 4 rounds of online video consultation service in March to answer questions from COVID-19 patients and their family members. Thanks to the volunteers for taking the time to participate in this online consultation service.
Participated in the packing of anti-epidemic service bags
On 31 March, I participated in the packing of anti-epidemic service bags with district members and volunteers in Taipo. The whole programme involved participants from various sectors with over 17000 volunteers worked in 133 packaging centres of anti-epidemic service bags. Upon completion of packaging, the 3.5 million anti-epidemic service bags will be delivered to all households in 18 districts in Hong Kong in a week from 2 April.