Following is a question by the Hon Ronny Tong and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (May 30):
In respect of the issue of overseas duty visits made by politically appointed officials, including Secretaries, Under Secretaries and Political Assistants, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether the Government has at present set ceilings on the expenditure incurred by politically appointed officials for their overseas duty visits; if it has, of the details (set out in table form); of the criteria based on which the authorities set such ceilings; whether annual reviews are conducted; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(b) whether the frequencies and destinations of the overseas duty visits made by various Secretaries, Under Secretaries and Political Assistants, as well as the total amount and breakdown of the expenditure incurred for such visits, have been recorded during the current term of the Government; if so, set out such records in table form?
The Government's reply to the questions raised by the Hon Ronny Tong is as follows:
(a) Overseas duty visits are made by politically appointed officials (PAOs) on the basis of operational need. Paragraphs 6.3 to 6.5 of the Code for Officials under the Political Appointment System have set out the guidelines regarding the class of travelling on duty outside Hong Kong and subsistence allowance for PAOs.
On the class of travelling, the Principal Officials (i.e. Secretaries of Departments and Directors of Bureaux) and the Director of the Chief Executive's Office may travel on first class when travelling on duty outside Hong Kong. The class of travelling on duty outside Hong Kong for Under Secretaries and Political Assistants are subject to the same rules and regulations as those applicable to civil servants at comparable levels.
On subsistence allowance, PAOs are subject to the same rules and regulations as those applicable to civil servants.
(b) The numbers and destinations of overseas duty visits made by various incumbent Secretaries, Under Secretaries and Political Assistants, as well as the total amount of the expenditure incurred for such visits are set out in the Annex.
Ends/Wednesday, May 30, 2012