Following is a question by the Hon Charles Mok and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, in the Legislative Council today (October 24):
Following the replacement of the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau in 2007, the information technology (IT) sector has been calling for the establishment of a technology bureau responsible for policy issues on IT, innovation and technology, and broadcasting. In May this year, the Government of the previous term put forward, at the suggestion of the Chief Executive-elect, a proposal on re-organisation of the Government Secretariat (re-organisation proposal) which included the proposal of setting up a Technology and Communications Bureau (TCB). However, the re-organisation proposal had not been dealt with before the prorogation of the previous term of the Legislative Council. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the specific measures to be taken by the authorities to solicit and incorporate views from both the IT sector and the public, so that the work of the future TCB will meet not only the needs of the industry but also the expectation of the public; and
(b) whether it has assessed if the proposal of setting up TCB is relatively less controversial among various proposals in the re-organisation proposal mentioned above; if the assessment result is in the affirmative, whether the authorities will deal with this proposal separately and submit it to this Council first; if it will, of the details and the timetable; if it will not, the reasons for that?
First of all, we thank Hon Charles Mok for his support to the proposal to set up the Technology and Communications Bureau in the Government Secretariat re-organisation plan. The objective of the proposal as set out in ESC paper EC(2012-13)5 was to map out a comprehensive and systematic policy for information and technology, to support the development of technology infrastructure, and to encourage synergy among government, enterprises as well as research and academic institutions in research and development, etc. Regrettably, the proposal was not passed within the last legislative session. When addressing the Legislative Council (LegCo) on October 17, 2012, the Chief Executive already stated that a re-launch of the re-organisation proposal might result in another round of protracted meetings in LegCo, and he had therefore decided not to re-submit the re-organisation proposal in the near future, so that the Government could focus on other areas of work.
It is the established practice of the Government to collect and listen to the views of different sectors of the community, including the industry, through different channels of consultation such as committees, trade associations, and conducting public consultations when formulating policies and work plans so as to address their concerns. We will certainly listen to the views of the LegCo and District Councils too. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau will continue to solicit views through various channels of consultation on how best to promote the development of Hong Kong’s communications and technology services.