For discussion
on 22 October 1997


Subhead 003 Recoverable salaries and allowances (General)

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the retention of the following supernumerary post in the Civil Service Bureau for the period up to 31 March 2000 in order to enable the continued secondment of a suitable officer to the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation -

1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1
(D4) ($145,150 - $149,600)


The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) requires the continued service of a senior civil servant with sufficient experience and exposure to fill its Commissioner post. The supernumerary post, which makes the existing secondment arrangement possible, will lapse on 31 March 1998.


2.We propose to retain one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1 (AOSGB1) (D4) for two years up to 31 March 2000 to allow for the continued secondment of a civil servant to the HKECIC as Commissioner.


3.The Government established the HKECIC in 1966 under the HKECIC Ordinance (Cap. 1115) as the official export credit insurer. The HKECIC provides protection for Hong Kong exporters against the risk that they may not receive payment for goods and services supplied to overseas clients. The chief executive of the HKECIC is the Commissioner, who has legal authority to implement and execute its powers, functions and duties. The Government guarantees the Corporation's maximum contingent liability, currently at $7,500 million.

4.The HKECIC needs a Commissioner who is a capable administrator and a strong manager with a sound grasp of the principles and practices of international trade and finance. Since 1984, we have seconded a senior civil servant at AOSGB1 level to fill the post. This has allowed an interchange of valuable and beneficial experience between Government and the HKECIC. The secondment affords an opportunity for civil servants to acquire experience in an important field of commerce and provides the Corporation with an officer with strong administrative experience. The cross-fertilisation of knowledge and experience have enhanced understanding and co-operation between Government and the Corporation.

5.A Consultancy Study commissioned by the Secretary for Trade and Industry in 1994 on the management needs of the HKECIC confirmed the desirability of the secondment arrangement. The Consultant concluded that it was appropriate for a senior civil servant who had extensive working experience in the various Government departments to head the Corporation. The Consultant also recommended that in the longer term consideration should be given to grooming qualified senior managers for the position. Government and the Corporation support the Consultant's recommendations. The Corporation has been taking various measures to give its more senior officers the exposure and depth of experience necessary for them to assume greater responsibilities in the longer term. Although there are candidates who have displayed reasonable potential, we do not envisage that a suitable officer with the requisite experience and exposure to fill the Commissioner post will emerge in the next two years. We propose, therefore, to retain the supernumerary post for two more years to accommodate the secondee from the civil service. In the meantime, the Corporation will continue to make vigorous efforts on grooming its senior staff.

6.We have considered outside recruitment, but do not prefer this option. First, existing staff of the HKECIC would perceive outside recruitment as denying them the opportunity to advance to the Commissioner post in due course. Secondly, as the Corporation is the only organisation providing export credit insurance in Hong Kong, a candidate from the private sector would not have the experience and expertise in this field, nor would he be familiar with Government workings and policies on the subject. A good understanding of the close interface between the Corporation and Government is essential, as the Commissioner has to exercise prudent supervision of the Corporation's insurance decisions. The preferred option is to promote from within the Corporation as and when a qualified officer is available. Since no officer within the Corporation is yet ready to assume the Commissioner post, the continued secondment of a senior civil servant with the required qualities is a viable and practical option.

7.A list of the overall and specific responsibilities of the post of Commissioner, HKECIC is at the Enclosure.


8.The notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is -

$No. of post
Supernumerary AOSGB1 post1,795,2001

9.The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-cost, is $3,097,164. We shall recover the full cost, including the staff on-cost, of the proposal from the HKECIC.


10.We created in 1984 a supernumerary AOSGB1 post to provide for the secondment of a senior civil servant to the HKECIC. We have since retained the post annually.


11.As we propose to keep the AOSGB1 post on a supernumerary basis, we will report the retention of it, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.

Civil Service Bureau
October 1997

Enclosure to EC(97-98)25

Duties and Responsibilities Commissioner
for the HKECIC

I.Overall Responsibilities

As head of the Corporation, the Commissioner, with the advice of the HKECIC Advisory Board, supervises and monitors the operation of the HKECIC within the powers and functions as defined in the HKECIC Ordinance (Cap. 1115). He makes recommendations to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, where appropriate and justified, for any modifications to the Corporation's powers and functions to meet the business and administrative needs of the Corporation.

II.Specific Responsibilities (Internal)

(1) To promote and monitor the business of the Corporation within approved policy in relation to the conduct of its business, namely -

  1. the classes of insurance contracts into which the Corporation is empowered to enter;

  2. the nature and extent of risks that may be covered under contracts of insurance entered into by the Corporation;

  3. the undertaking of liabilities;

  4. the giving of guarantees;

(2) to determine and oversee the organisation of the finances of the Corporation, particularly in the following areas -

  1. the total amount of capital and reserves required by the Corporation taking into account the sums at risk under contract of insurance;

  2. the investment policy of any surplus acquired by the Corporation;

  3. the raising of loans or mortgages whether on security or not;

  4. the acquisition of fixed assets;

  5. the movements of the underwriting accounts;

  6. the forecasting and monitoring of the administration account of the Corporation;

  7. the preparation of the Corporation's annual report and statement of accounts;

(3) to service the HKECIC Advisory Board and seek the Board's advice on matters relating to the Corporation's conduct of business; and

(4) to supervise and appoint all staff employed by the Corporation and oversee the overall administration of the Corporation.

III.Specific Responsibilities (External)

(1) To liaise with and report to the authorities of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government on matters relating to the powers, functions and business of the Corporation and to seek advice or approval where appropriate;

(2) to liaise with local financial institutions/business organisations and make agreements on behalf of the Corporation on financial transactions relating to the Corporation's business;

(3) to liaise, negotiate and make agreements with overseas re-insurers on all matters relating to re-insurance contracts which the Corporation enters into with re-insurers;

(4) to represent the Corporation at the Berne Union and to promote the interest of the Corporation at the Union; and

(5) to liaise or keep in contact with overseas export credit institutions and to monitor developments in the field of export credits in overseas countries.