Legco panel pans government for slow smart city progress

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Lawmakers question the need for further consultancy reports covering the Kowloon East pilot scheme.

Members of the Legco Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting have criticised the government’s smart city strategy as lacking in substance.

Lawmakers concluded the panel’s last meeting of this term by pressing the government to roll out concrete plans for the Kowloon East pilot project. In particular, they questioned the need to hire an independent consultancy to conduct further studies. The consultancy project is expected to cost up to HK$10 million and be completed in March/April 2017.

IT lawmaker Charles Mok (莫乃光), in particular, criticised the government for lacking an innovative culture to enforce its smart city projects, asking why another study was needed on top of a previously concluded Central Policy Unit study.  He also raised privacy concerns as the government releases more datasets on its online information portal.

Meanwhile, Engineering lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok (盧偉國) said he was unimpressed by suggestions listed in an official document to Legco, including for the collection of real-time transport data and the expansion of Wi-Fi coverage. Such proposals are not new, he claimed.

The panel also agreed to submit a HK$500 million funding request for an Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living to the Finance Committee despite concerns that it will pay out too much to applicants and be used as a tool to build political support for the administration. The Innovation and Technology Bureau-overseen fund will provide up to HK$5 million in funding for each individual IT project.