The cost of office space for the chief executive-elect has been reduced by around 11 per cent following complaints from lawmakers. However, it will still cost more than HK$30 million.
The original cost was HK$39.96 million – more than quadruple the cost in 2012 following the last election. The huge increase was due to the cost of renting outside office space at the Champion Tower in Central.
The office, which was rented before consulting lawmakers, will only be used between March 26 and June 30, but HK$16.95 million will be spent on office fittings and their removal afterwards.
The cost for the short-term office space received criticism from many lawmakers. Edward Lau Kwok-fun, a pro-Beijing camp lawmaker, said he wrote to the Administration Wing under the Chief Secretary’s Office urging them to cut the cost.
Lau received a reply on Tuesday saying that the cost of renovation could be cut by HK$4.63 million through choosing more simple material, such as using paint rather than wallpaper.
The Administration Wing also told Lau they will try to cut the cost of removal.
“I welcome the government accepting my advice. But even after cutting HK$4.63 million, the cost for fittings is still over ten million. I hope the materials could be recycled after the office has been used,” he said.
He added that he expected that a similar issue may arise every five years during chief executive elections.
“In the long run, the government should consider reserving space in government offices for this purpose, and resolve this issue from the root, so that public resources will be used well,” he said.