Funding for the Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB) has finally been approved by the Legislative Council Finance Committee.

In a Legislative Council session on Friday twenty-six lawmakers voted in favour of the HK$37 million application for staffing funds, while eight voted against it.

26 lawmakers voted in favour, while 8 voted against it. Photo: LegCo..

The operational funds of HK$30 million for the ITB were approved. Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung may officially start as a Secretary for Innovation and Technology on November 20.

29 voted to approve operational funds, while 9 opposed. Photo: LegCo.

The Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying welcomed the approval of the funding applications.

In March, Yang was appointed as Advisor to the Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying as Advisor to the Chief Executive on Innovation and Technology, and Non-official Member of the Executive Council, after the ITB proposal failed to pass in the Finance Committee in LegCo in February.

Lawmakers against the establishment of the ITB have been trying to delay the passing of the funding by filibustering, but their attempts were in vain as Finance Committee Chair Chan Kin-por terminated more than 100 amendments from Leung-Kwok-hung, Albert Chan Wai-yip and Ray Chan Chi-cheung, despite criticisms from the pan-democrat lawmakers.

A motion to set up the ITB was passed in October 2014, but the budget plan was not approved in time. The process was restarted and it was approved to be established in June 2015, but the funding was not approved until Friday.

The ITB has taken over three years to be set up. It was first proposed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying when he came to office in 2012. The plan involved merging the Innovation and Technology Commission and Office of the Government Chief Information Officer into one new bureau.

The bureau should be established on the 14th day after the day on which the Finance Committee approves the relevant funding applications.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.