A ceremony to commemorate partial completion of a number of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)-funded reconstruction projects in the Sichuan earthquake stricken areas (the Ceremony) was held this morning (May 6) in Chengdu, Sichuan. The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Executive Vice-governor of Sichuan, Mr Wei Hong, officiated at the Ceremony.
"With the staunch support of the Central Government, and the concerted efforts of Sichuan and Hong Kong, we have attained an important milestone in HKSAR reconstruction efforts after two years of endeavours," Mr Tang said. "Today, 39 projects have been completed and are starting to commence operation, serving people in the earthquake stricken areas."
Among the 39 projects, 27 involve direct Government participation and 12 are being taken forward by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). These projects are scattered across ten municipalities/prefectures in Sichuan. The 27 Government-led projects include 18 primary and secondary schools, six hospitals and clinics, two social welfare projects and one planning project for the Wolong Nature Reserve. The 12 NGO projects include nine schools, two clinics and one residential reconstruction project.
"We have gone a long way to achieve this," Mr Tang said. "Although the systems of Sichuan and Hong Kong differ and the nature of HKSAR-funded reconstruction projects vary and are scattered across many places in Sichuan, Sichuan and Hong Kong have built up sound mutual trust and close partnership through constant liaison and communication. We are steadily taking forward the reconstruction projects under the overarching aim of guaranteeing quality of the projects."
Some 200 guests attended today's Ceremony. The HKSARG officials attending the Ceremony include the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Joshua Law; Team Leader (Sichuan Reconstruction) of the Development Bureau, Mr Mak Chai-kwong; the Under Secretary for Education, Mr Kenneth Chen; and representatives of related bureaux and departments. Officials from the Sichuan Provincial and local governments, representatives of the completed projects, as well as representatives of the NGOs of the projects concerned were also present.
"The HKSAR Government will continue to strictly impose quality supervision of the projects," Mr Tang said. "We will continue to supervise the quality and progress of the projects through our three-tier liaison and coordination mechanism with Sichuan Provincial Government. The independent consultants engaged by the HKSAR Government will also continue to carry out on-site inspection. The funding of the HKSAR will continue to be managed by dedicated provisions and accounts. Both Governments will closely monitor the use of funds."
After the Wenchuan Earthquake on May 12, 2008, the HKSAR injected $9 billion into the "Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas" (Trust Fund) to take forward 151 reconstruction projects covering infrastructure, Wolong Nature Reserve, education, medical and social welfare facilities. Furthermore, the Trust Fund approved a total of 33 NGOs projects, which include hardware reconstruction, and software services provision. The Hong Kong Jockey Club also set aside $1 billion to support seven reconstruction projects. The total commitment by the Trust Fund in the 151 Government-led and 33 NGOs projects amounts to over $8.8 billion. Some $6 billion has been transferred to the Sichuan dedicated account to implement the projects.
All the HKSAR Government-led projects are now underway: 124 projects are under construction and 27 are completed. It is expected that most of these projects will be completed within this year or the next.
The HKSAR delegation will return to Hong Kong today.
Ends/Friday, May 6, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:42