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Speech by Land Registrar


Following is a speech by the Land Registrar, Mr Kim Salkeld, at the announcement ceremony for the Integrated Registration Information System contract today (July 25):

Mr Ng, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this ceremony to launch the partnership between the Hong Kong Land Registry and the Computer and Technologies International Limited led consortium. The objective of the partnership is to deliver and maintain the Integrated Registration Information System, or IRIS, to improve land registration services in Hong Kong.

Good land registration is fundamental to the social and economic health of communities. It gives individuals, families and businesses security of possession and access to financial resources. In Hong Kong, over a million people own the homes they live in and rely on the security that registration gives them. Over $1,000 billion in loans have been made against the security of registered property.

The duty of the Land Registry is to give Hong Kong registration services that are of excellent value and excellent quality, above all, services that everyone can trust.

There has been a Land Registry giving service to Hong Kong since May 2, 1842. Today we are here to share with you how the Land Registry will be transforming itself to keep ahead of the challenges and the community expectations that we will face in decades to come.

Earlier this month, on July 3, the Legislative Council passed the Land Registration (Amendment) Bill. This removes many outdated restrictions on our operation and opens up the potential to reform our organization and working practices. It also empowers us to introduce measures that will allow much greater use of electronic service delivery.

Our objective is to bring a transformed Land Registry into operation by the end of next year. The key features of the improved services will be:

* A central registration office able to provide a comprehensive service for the whole territory.

* Registration times reduced from about 15 days to 24 hours.

* Comprehensive search services available through the internet.

The partnership we have entered into with Computer and Technologies International Limited is the instrument through which we will achieve these objectives. Together we will be developing the Integrated Registration Information System. This will replace three old separate systems we run at the moment. IRIS will provide:

* Much greater operating efficiency

* Much greater security for data

* Capacity and flexibility for future development

The partnership is not just to build and commission IRIS. It involves a ten-year programme to develop the IRIS platform to deliver improved services to the community. Ideas for further improvement that we have in mind include connecting our information with that from other Government departments so as to give the public easier access to information that helps them make choices; creating the means to support electronic lodgement of documents for registration and to support electronic conveyancing; and, giving estate agents and market analysts more helpful information about property transactions.

Later this year we will be re-introducing legislation to establish a title registration system in Hong Kong. This will provide greater assurance and convenience than the existing deeds registration system. IRIS is designed to be able to support the new title register as well as maintaining the existing system.

We will be investing $150 million in this partnership over the next ten years. $65 million dollar is for capital investment, with the balance of $85 million being the recurrent cost over the period.

We are very pleased with the outcome of the tendering process. Some very high quality submissions were made. That by Computer and Technologies International Limited was outstanding technically. The capital cost was well within our initial expectations and the annual recurrent cost will be significantly less than for our existing information systems. These combine to give us confidence that in the coming years we will be able to deliver services of higher quality and better value for money to Hong Kong.

It will be particularly helpful that one of the partners in the consortium is Teranet, a company that has developed from the Land Registry of Ontario, Canada. They have long experience in handling both deeds registration - the system currently in use in Hong Kong - and title registration - the system we will be moving on to. Being able to draw on their experience helps the Land Registry to give assurance to all who depend on our services that the major reforms of land registration practice to be introduced over the next few years will not affect the reliability of registration in Hong Kong.

The Computer and Technologies International Limited led consortium is our partner in a contract. Together over the next 18 months we will be working closely with other partners of the Land Registry - solicitors firms, estate agents, banks and Government Departments - to build a system that is user friendly and will fully satisfy the needs of all our clients. We will provide a system that all our clients can trust, a system that gives excellent service, a system that gives excellent value.

Thank you.

End/Thursday, July 25, 2002


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