CE's speech in delivering "The Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address" to LegCo (2)

III. Further Improve Governance

Enhance Governance Systems

18. To improve governance, we have to start with enhancing our governance systems, governance capability and governance efficacy. I will improve our governance systems on various fronts, including the decision‑making structure, institutional objectives, leadership roles, distribution of powers and responsibilities, as well as execution mechanisms. The establishment of four task forces in the first month after my assumption of office was an institutional setup to address issues relating to intergenerational poverty, district environmental hygiene, public housing supply as well as co-ordination of land and housing supply. These governance systems have already achieved some positive results. Amongst them, the District Matters Co-ordination Task Force, led by the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration, successfully tackled a number of hygiene and street obstruction blackspots within a short period of time, including restoring a public back alley in To Kwa Wan that had been illegally occupied for many years. In the ensuing chapters, I will introduce how we establish and improve our governance systems on various fronts.

Establish the Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited

19. In respect of the governance system on government investments, I have asked the Financial Secretary to set up a new Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited (HKIC) to further optimise the use of fiscal reserves for promoting the development of industries and the economy. The HKIC will consolidate the Hong Kong Growth Portfolio, the GBA Investment Fund and the Strategic Tech Fund established under the Future Fund in recent years, as well as the Co-Investment Fund mentioned in the ensuing sections. In pooling together relevant resources under the steer of the Government to invest in strategic industries, we aim to attract and support more enterprises to develop their business in Hong Kong.

Enhance Governance Capability and Governance Efficacy

Set up the Chief Executive's Policy Unit

20. I will set up the Chief Executive's Policy Unit (CEPU) within this year to enhance our capabilities in research and advocacy on long-term and strategic issues.The CEPU should possess strategic and global perspectives and stay in tune with the local and public pulse, while conducting in-depth studies and analyses on Mainland policies and developments as well as international trends and reporting the outcomes to me. It will also put in place a mechanism for regular internal deliberations to assist the Government in formulating forward‑looking policies.

Standing United as One

21. Governance capability of the Government rides on the concerted efforts of leaders and team members. The two must act closely with one another in order to achieve the synergy effect of "one plus one is greater than two", create the greatest value and allow our people to benefit most. I value team spirit, because I understand that even the most competent individual has limitation. Our team members should perform their respective functions, and various departments and their staff should complement each other, while the top echelon should provide steer and intervene proactively to nip problems in the bud. I  am pleased that our team acts in concert and shares the same beliefs with me. The Secretaries of Departments and Deputy Secretaries of Departments have been taking an active role in co-ordinating work across bureaux and departments. Directors of Bureaux have also made strenuous efforts in offering constructive policy ideas and suggestions. Working with one heart and one vision, our team is serving the public with assiduity.

22. I have introduced the "red team" concept in our day-to-day decision-making. The "red team" will play the role of critics and opponents to facilitate a thorough review of the effectiveness of policy decisions and execution plans, so as to plug any loopholes and improve the policies.

Be Result‑Oriented

23. While pressing ahead with various policy initiatives, the Government should in particular take heed of the need for our people to have a sense of gain and a real taste of the fruits of effective governance. The Government should work in compliance with procedural propriety, and more importantly, be result-oriented. I have set about 110 various indicators (including key performance indicators (KPIs)), as listed in the Annex, for monitoring the progress and effectiveness for specified tasks and making timely improvements. I have also asked all policy bureaux and departments to set more indicators and report them to the LegCo.

Strengthen the Civil Service Management System

24. To lead Hong Kong in moving ahead, we need a capable government that can deliver results. The civil service being the backbone of Government is the key. To strengthen civil service management, we will:

(i) update the Civil Service Code to clearly spell out the core values and standards of conduct that present‑day civil servants should uphold. Civil servants should be dedicated to their duties, be people-oriented, embrace teamwork, and be ready to take up commitment and responsibilities.

They should have strong awareness of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests and put the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" into practice;

(ii) strengthen the reward and punishment system by launching the "Chief Executive's Award for Exemplary Performance" next year to recognise meritorious and exemplary teams or individuals on a regular basis, with a view to encouraging civil servants to constantly strive for excellence. We will also identify officers with good potential and outstanding performance and provide them with enhanced training and advancement opportunities. For officers whose performance remains persistently sub-standard despite supervision and assistance, their appointment should be terminated in a timely manner. We will enhance the civil service disciplinary mechanism so that appropriate punishment can be promptly imposed in a fair and just manner on officers found to have misconducted themselves;

(iii) enhance training for civil servants to build a result-oriented team culture, deepen their understanding of "One Country, Two Systems" and contemporary China and broaden their global perspectives; and

(iv) enhance the existing mobilisation protocol by introducing a "government-wide mobilisation" level. Rosters will be drawn up in advance to include designated personnel from various departments, who will stand ready to cope with major incidents that require deployment of considerable manpower. Regular drills will also be conducted to strengthen the Government's emergency response capability.

IV. Continue to Create Strong Impetus for Growth

25. Hong Kong is one of the most competitive economies in the world. It also serves as an important gateway connecting the Mainland with global markets. We must be more proactive and aggressive in "competing for enterprises" and "competing for talents".

Attract Enterprises, Investment and Talents to Enhance Competitiveness

26. To enhance our competitiveness, the Government will put in place new institutional setups and implement an array of new initiatives targeted at attracting enterprises, investment and talents. We will:

(i) establish the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES), led by the Financial Secretary, for attracting strategic enterprises from the Mainland and overseas by offering them special facilitation measures and one-stop services;

(ii) establish the Talents Service Unit, led by the Chief Secretary for Administration, for formulating strategies to recruit talents from the Mainland and overseas and co‑ordinating relevant work, as well as providing one‑stop support for incoming talents;

(iii) set up Dedicated Teams for Attracting Businesses and Talents in the Mainland Offices and overseas Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs) of the Government to proactively reach out to target enterprises and talents and persuade them to pursue development in Hong Kong;

(iv) set aside $30 billion from the Future Fund to establish the Co-Investment Fund for attracting enterprises to set up operations in Hong Kong and investing in their business;

(v) launch the Top Talent Pass Scheme to widely entice talents to pursue their careers in Hong Kong;

(vi) enhance existing talent admission schemes to better attract talents; and

(vii) allow eligible incoming talents to, upon becoming permanent residents, apply for a refund of the extra stamp duty paid for purchasing residential property in Hong Kong.

Attract Strategic Enterprises

27. The OASES to be established within this year will be tasked with attracting high‑potential and representative strategic enterprises from around the globe, particularly those from industries of strategic importance, such as life and health technology, artificial intelligence and data science, financial technology (Fintech), and advanced manufacturing and new energy technology. The office will:

(i) draw up a list of target enterprises and provide steer to the Dedicated Teams for Attracting Businesses and Talents to reach out to and carry out negotiations with the enterprises;

(ii) formulate attractive special facilitation measures covering aspects such as land, tax and financing that are applicable exclusively to target enterprises, and provide them with tailor-made plans to facilitate the setting up of their operations in Hong Kong; and

(iii) provide the employees of these target enterprises with one‑stop facilitation services in areas such as visa application and education arrangement for their children.

28. With the establishment of the Co-Investment Fund, the Government will consider co-investing in individual projects of the target enterprises, taking into account their potential to drive industry development in Hong Kong. In addition, we will set up the Advisory Committee on Attracting Strategic Enterprises, comprising representatives from relevant business sectors and social leaders, to advise the Financial Secretary on the overall strategy.

Trawl for Talents

29. Over the past two years, the local workforce shrank by about 140 000. Apart from actively nurturing and retaining local talents, the Government will proactively trawl the world for talents. We will:

(i) launch the Top Talent Pass Scheme for a period of two years. Eligible talents will include individuals whose annual salary reached HK$2.5 million or above in the past year, and individuals graduated from the world's top 100 universities with at least three years of work experience over the past five years. These two categories of talents will be issued a two-year pass for exploring opportunities in  Hong Kong and are not subject to any quota. Individuals who graduated from the world's top 100 universities in the past five years and have yet to fulfil the work experience requirement will also be eligible, subject to an annual quota of 10 000. The scheme will be reviewed after the first year of implementation;

(ii) streamline the General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP), such that for vacancies falling under the 13 professions with shortage of local supply as listed in the Talent List or for vacancies with annual salary of HK$2 million or above, employers are not required to provide proof to substantiate their difficulties in local recruitment in making applications for talent admission. The Government will update the Talent List as soon as possible to reflect the latest shortage situation in various professions, and will aim to complete it in the first quarter of 2023;

(iii) suspend the annual quota under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) for a period of two years, and improve the approval process to attract more world-class talents to relocate to Hong Kong;

(iv) relax the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) by extending the limit of stay from one year to two years to facilitate their staying in or coming to Hong Kong for work; and expand the scope of the arrangements to cover those who graduated from the GBA campus of a Hong Kong university on a pilot basis for a period of two years. The pilot arrangement will be reviewed after the first year of implementation;

(v) enhance the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) by lifting the requirement for technology firms to employ additional local employees while admitting talents outside Hong Kong, with a view to speeding up talent admission;

(vi) extend the limit of stay of employment visas so that talents admitted under the existing and newly launched talent admission schemes and securing employment may be issued with an employment visa which will be valid for a maximum period of three years; and

(vii) refund the extra stamp duty paid by eligible incoming talents in purchasing residential property in Hong Kong. Eligible talents (Note) who purchase a residential property in Hong Kong from today and thereafter, and subsequently become a permanent resident upon residing in Hong Kong for seven years, can apply for a refund of the Buyer's Stamp Duty and the New Residential Stamp Duty paid for the first residential property purchased which they still own, while the Ad Valorem Stamp Duty at Scale 2 rates is still payable such that the overall stamp duty charged will be on par with that charged on first‑time home buyers who are ordinary permanent residents. The arrangement applies to any sale and purchase agreement entered from today (19 October 2022) and thereafter.

30. At the same time, we will waive the requirement of applying for an employment visa for more visitors participating in short-term activities in Hong Kong. Apart from existing designated sectors like technology specialists and professional athletes, we will explore expanding the arrangements to more categories.

31. We will soon establish the Talents Service Unit which will be the one-stop shop, co-ordinating with the Immigration Department to process applications received under the talent admission schemes and providing support services. It will also draw up performance pledges to enhance efficiency in processing applications. Moreover, we will launch electronic services for all visa applications within this year.

Set up Dedicated Teams for Attracting Businesses and Talents to Strengthen Promotion in the Mainland and Overseas

32. The Government will expand the functions of Mainland Offices and overseas ETOs. A total of 17 offices will each set up a Dedicated Team for Attracting Businesses and Talents. They will proactively reach out to target enterprises and talents, liaise with the world's top 100 universities and promote related schemes. They will also strengthen links with Hong Kong people studying or working in the Mainland or overseas, encouraging them to return to Hong Kong.

Project Manpower Requirement for Supporting the Economy

33. Many sectors in Hong Kong are facing manpower shortages. Relevant bureaux will listen to the views of the sectors and put forward solutions having regard to the situation of individual sectors. For example, on the premise that local workers' priority for employment will be safeguarded, the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) will launch a special scheme next year to allow the importation of care workers for residential care homes for the elderly (RCHE) and residential care homes for persons with disabilities on an appropriate scale, relax the ratio of care workers to be imported and streamline vetting procedures for applications, with a view to assisting the sector in enhancing service quality. The Development Bureau (DEVB) and the Transport and Logistics Bureau will review the labour shortage situation in the construction and transport sectors respectively to draw up relevant solutions.

34. The LWB will commence a new round of manpower projections to help the Government formulate appropriate strategies to address the overall manpower demand. We will enhance the methodology, including shortening the projection period from 10 years previously to 5 years to reflect the trends in our economic and labour markets in a more timely manner. Key findings will be available in 2024.

Note: Eligible incoming talents include those who enter Hong Kong under designated talents admission schemes, including GEP, ASMTP, QMAS, IANG, TechTAS, Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents and the newly launched Top Talent Pass Scheme.

(To be continued.)

Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 11:31