Call to safeguard development
With the government's 10 major infrastructure projects being rolled out in phrases, the Association of Engineering Professionals in Society (AES) claims that Hong Kong's engineering industry is bound to enjoy bright prospects. However, it also acknowledges that the industry has faced many uncertainties in recent years, which may cloud its future.
It says that government officials tend not to welcome the use of new technology in public construction projects, nor that of new, untested materials - even if they are no longer a novelty in Western countries. The AES claims this attitude will seriously affect the industry's future competitiveness.
It adds that the construction market has largely been taken over by mainland or foreign-invested enterprises and that this poses a threat to the survival of local enterprises. Because the government's procurement policy benefits mainly large enterprises with major capital, local enterprises are at a disadvantage and are usually forced to take on projects as part of joint ventures. They are typically then only responsible for low-skill work and are unable to use core technologies. Again, this harms competitiveness.
The AES is urging the government to re-examine its procurement policy to avoid damaging the industry's long-term development and the job prospects of current and future workers.