HKSAR Government Budget for 2022 to 2023 – Construction Issues

In his presentation speech of “Budget 2022-23” on February 23, 2022, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR (the Government), Hon. Paul MP ​​Chan mentioned that land is one of the constraints major factors in Hong Kong’s economic growth. The government must make an effort to create more land.

There are two developments that the government says could increase the supply of land. These include the Northern Metropolitan Development Strategy (the Development Strategy) [北部都會區發展策略] and the Lantau Tomorrow plan [明日大嶼]. It was stated in the speech report “The 2022-23 Budget” that “The Northern Metropolis Development Strategy (the Development Strategy) and the Lantau Tomorrow Plan are important initiatives to increase the supply of land, through which the supply of housing can be considerably increased”.

The government also plans to spend on other construction-related projects as announced in the 2022 to 2023 budget.

It appears that the government is willing to continue investing in construction and infrastructure works across the country for the benefit of the construction industry and Hong Kong as a whole. Based on the “Budget 2022-23” speech, the message to the construction industry was positive and the government clearly foresees growth in the industry over the next few years.

Northern Metropolis Development Strategy Northern Metropolis will provide more land for the use of Innovation and Technology (I&T) as described below. The government has set aside HK$100 billion for the development of the northern metropolis.

“The northern metropolis will provide enough land for I&T uses, which will promote I&T development in Hong Kong. Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen can also be upgraded to the Northern New Territories Modern Service Center. With regard to development areas, including San Tin Technology Park, Lo Wu/Man Kam To Comprehensive Development Node, Ma Tso Lung, as well as Lau Fau Shan, Tsim Bei Tsui and Pak Nai, the government is making efforts to formulate development plans for the four land formations. projects over the next two to three years. We will also accelerate the implementation of new development area projects to ensure the timely completion of housing projects.

“On financial arrangements, I will set aside $100 billion of the cumulative return of the Future Fund to establish a dedicated fund under the Capital Works Reserve Fund to accelerate the implementation of works. infrastructure related to land, housing and transportation in the North. Metropolis.”

Lantau Tomorrow

The government provided an update on the development of Lantau Tomorrow, such as the status of studies related to the artificial island, the progress of the development schedule and financial matters:

“With regard to Lantau Tomorrow, the studies relating to the artificial islands in the central waters began last June. Preliminary proposals are expected to be submitted in the fourth quarter of this year. The government plans to streamline the procedures, with a view to advancing the development schedule further, i.e. starting the first phase of rehabilitation before the initial date of 2027 with the first batch of admission of the population before 2034. We will make financial assessments when carrying out relevant studies. and explore the use of different financing approaches and options, including bond issuance or public-private partnership, etc. to move projects forward.

Transport infrastructure

Paragraphs 124 and 125 of the speech report “The 2022-23 budget” concerned “Transportation infrastructure” which mentioned the expansion of the rail network and some of the new rail projects. He also mentioned exploring major rail and road infrastructure development related to “Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Transcendent 2030 Vision and Planning Strategy”.

“The provision of comprehensive infrastructure support is crucial for the implementation of the major development projects mentioned above. The planning approach focused on infrastructure and capacity building means that transport infrastructure will be used to stimulate land development. The expansion of the rail network will support NDAs and other new development projects, unlock the development potential of neighboring areas and facilitate neighborhood revitalization, development and economic activities. The government is actively advancing a series of new railway projects, among which the environmental impact studies for the Northern Link and Hung Shui Kiu Station projects have started, while the railway projects for the extension of the Tung Chung line and the Tuen Mun South extension were already underway. published in the Official Journal.

“We are exploring the development of major rail and road infrastructure in the territory, taking into account the development strategy set out in the document “Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a vision and planning strategy transcending 2030”. These studies are conducted to ensure that infrastructure planning will support, or even reserve the capacity to meet, Hong Kong’s overall long-term development needs, including development strategy. In addition, the Department of Transportation launched the Traffic and Transportation Strategy Study to define visions for Hong Kong’s traffic and transportation policies to 2050 and develop a strategic plan, thereby ensuring that Hong Kong can build a safe, reliable, environmentally friendly and efficient environment. traffic and transportation system.

Other construction-related budgets

The government is spending HK$20 billion on sports and recreation facilities, as described in paragraph 165 of the “Budget 2022-2023” speech report:

“In addition, we are continuing the Kai Tak Sports Park project, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year. We are also actively implementing the $20 billion five-year plan for sports and recreation facilities and advancing the construction and modernization of community sports and recreation facilities, while progressively implementing the five-year plan for the transformation of public play spaces managed by the LCSD.

“Paragraph 26(e) of the ‘Budget 2022-23’ speech report indicates that HK$12 billion has been injected into the Anti-Epidemic Fund (AEF)” for the construction of various facilities related to the fight against the epidemic”.

Paragraphs 150 and 151 of “The 2022-23 Budget” speech report on “Promoting the adoption of innovation and technology in the construction industry”.

“I allocated $1 billion in 2018 to create the Construction Innovation and Technology Fund (CITF) to build the capacity of the construction industry to adopt new technologies. After more than three years of existence, the CITF is producing results. I now propose to inject an additional $1.2 billion for its continued operation and the implementation of recently launched improvement measures, including expanding the scope of funding and increasing the funding cap.

“In addition, I have earmarked $30 million to promote applied R&D and the adoption of new materials and innovative construction technologies in public works and industry over the next three years, with a view to improve the overall productivity and performance of the construction industry. .”

The government is encouraging the use of the modular integrated construction method in the construction industry, which should accelerate the supply of housing. Paragraph 152 of the report of the speech “The 2022-23 budget” states:

“Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) can significantly reduce construction time, solve the problem of labor shortages in the construction industry and reduce the environmental impacts of construction works. To accelerate housing supply, the government will introduce more beneficial measures to encourage uptake of MiC, including increasing the floor area concession from the current 6% to 10% and providing a corresponding site coverage as well as support for construction overrun requests. height limitations due to the increased floor space caused by the adoption of MiC. The government will put in place the above measures in the middle of this year. »

Regarding training provision in the construction industry, the government has proposed to allocate HK$1 billion to the Construction Industry Council.

“To train more new workers and upgrade in-service workers, I am proposing to allocate $1 billion to the Construction Industry Council to support workforce training, which includes the increase in training places and the amount of allowance for occupations facing a labor shortage in order to attract new entrants and job changers in the industry, and the increase in training places training for upgrading semi-skilled construction workers to skilled workers and the amount of allowance. We will also intensify our efforts to promote the professional image and career prospects of the construction industry in order to attract more young people.

Major capital projects scheduled to start in 2022 to 2023

Appendix B, Section IV of the speech report “The 2022-2023 budget” lists 29 major capital projects that are scheduled to begin in 2022-2023.

Based on this Annex B, Section IV, the government’s budget for 2022 to 2023 has provided encouraging signs for the future development and growth of the construction industry in Hong Kong and it looks like there will be many positive opportunities for contracting and consulting organizations in the years to come. years.