on 27 March 1998
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 152 - GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT :
TRADE AND INDUSTRY BUREAU
Subhead 149 General departmental expenses
Members are invited to approve an honorarium for non-locally-based members of the Chief Executive's Commission on Innovation and Technology at the same rate as that applicable to overseas members of the University Grants Committee.PROBLEM
We need to determine an appropriate honorarium for non-locally-based members of the Chief Executive's Commission on Innovation and Technology (the Commission) 1.
2. We propose to set the honorarium for non-locally-based members of the Commission at the same rate as that applicable to overseas members of the University Grants Committee (UGC). The prevailing rate is $105,000 per person per year.
3. The Chief Executive has recently appointed the Commission to advise him on the measures necessary to make Hong Kong an innovation centre, so as to add value to Hong Kong's commercial and industrial activities and to our economic hinterland. The Commission comprises 12 non-official members including the Chairman, and the Secretary for Trade and Industry and the Director-General of Industry. Members of the Commission have been appointed on the basis of their expertise and experience relevant to the tasks of the Commission. In addition, we consider it important for the Commission to be able to draw on expertise and advice from outside Hong Kong to ensure that it will have a broad perspective in formulating its recommendations. Thus, a small number, say two to three, of the appointees would be non-locally-based. The membership of the Commission will be announced after members have confirmed their acceptance of the appointments.
4. We expect the Commission to produce an interim report before October this year and to complete all its tasks within 12 to 18 months. To meet this tight timetable, the Commission is likely to have to meet frequently, at about monthly intervals.
5. In view of the fact that non-locally-based members of the Commission will have to travel to Hong Kong to attend meetings and deal with other matters related to the Commission's work, we propose to pay these members an honorarium as partial compensation for the time they devote to the Commission's work and possible earnings forgone due to absence from their normal work. Since these non-locally-based members come from the academia and the time that they are expected to spend in Hong Kong for Commission business will be roughly comparable to that of overseas members of the UGC, we consider it appropriate to peg the rate of honorarium 2 , to that applicable to overseas members of the UGC, currently at $105,000 a year.
6. On the basis of three non-locally-based appointments to the Commission, the proposal will require additional expenditure of $315,000 a year. We have included sufficient provision in the 1998-99 Estimates for this purpose.
7. The Chief Executive announced his plan to establish the Commission in his 1997 Policy Address. The terms of reference of the Commission are at the Enclosure.
8. The Establishment Subcommittee endorsed our proposal to create a supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C for two years to serve as Secretary to the Commission. Subject to the approval of Finance Committee on 20 March 1998, the post will be created on 1 April 1998.
Trade and Industry Bureau
Chief Executive's Commission on Innovation and Technology
Terms of Reference
To advise the Chief Executive on -
1.Previously known as the Committee on Technology and Innovation.
- the steps that Hong Kong should take; and
- the institutional arrangements that are needed to -
- stimulate the exchange of ideas between university researchers, businessmen, industrialists and customers so as to drive forward innovation and turn technological development into commercial products;
- tap the talents and the results of scientific research in the Mainland; and
- make Hong Kong an innovation centre for South China and for the region, adding value to our commercial and industrial activities and to our economic hinterland.
2. The rate of honorarium for overseas members of the UGC is revised annually by the Secretary for the Treasury under delegated authority having regard to the latest civil service salary adjustment.