Following is a speech by the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mr. K C Kwong, at the Contract Signing Ceremony of the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme today (Friday):
Mr. Fok, Mr. Lui, Mr. Yeung, Mr. Shipman, Mr. Lau, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to see so many of you here at the Contract Signing Ceremony of the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme this afternoon. I am very excited to see the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme reach the contract award stage.
This is after months of hard work, from developing the concept, soliciting interest from the private sector, encouraging Government departments to offer services under the Scheme, going through an elaborate tendering exercise to the signing of the contract today with the selected ESD operator, Timbo Star Investment Limited.
Our partner in this exciting venture has been selected after a rigorous evaluation process and its proposal has been rated the best on the combined technical and financial assessments. Timbo Star is a joint venture of Hutchison Communications Limited and Compaq Computer Limited : companies with strong technical and marketing expertise and financial background. Timbo Star is also supported by a strong team of strategic partners, technology solution providers and financial institutions.
The company is planning to complete the implementation of the project within 11 months. We have full confidence in its capability and commitment and we can expect that the first phase of the ESD scheme will be up and running in October 2000.
In addition to obtaining ESD services via their personal computers at home or in the office, the public may also access the services through computers installed by the Government in District Offices, community halls and public libraries. To further augment this, Timbo Star will introduce an interactive Internet device for use by the public and set up some 100 public information kiosks at convenient locations. We will continue to explore other convenient electronic means for the delivery of ESD services to the community in a user-friendly way.
In less than a year's time, members of the public will be able to submit their tax returns, renew their driving and vehicle licences, register as voters, search for jobs or pay Government bills on-line. I would wish to take this opportunity to commend my colleagues in the 10 departments and agencies for their vision to take part in the first phase of the ESD scheme. They are the pioneers who will set the model for others in the Government and the private sector to follow.
Apart from providing more efficient and better quality services to the public, the ESD scheme has another important purpose. It will help to familiarise our citizens with the conduct of electronic business, give them confidence in such transactions and encourage them to purchase goods and services offered by the private sector over the Internet.
Ladies and gentlemen, our vision is to make Hong Kong a leading digital city in the globally connected world in the 21st century. Implementation of the ESD scheme will be an important step towards achieving that.
END/Friday, November 12, 1999