June 4, 2014 Print

The Audit Commission of Hong Kong released its annual government expenditure reports last month, noting that government spending had increased by 64 percent. Some of the audit work focused on the Tourism Commission’s Mega Events Fund. According to the Tourism Commission, “Mega events not only add colour and vibrancy to our city, but also enrich the travel experience of visitors and reinforce Hong Kong's position as the Events Capital of Asia.” The expenditure reports revealed troublesome waste in the Mega Events Fund. $97 million of taxpayer money has been spent on various Mega Events Fund projects. But many of the Mega Events Fund projects were so poorly selected and managed that the Tourism Commission imposes financial sanctions on 41 percent of them. Additionally, within these projects, employment benefits and participation are inflated, and tourism objectives are not even met. The Lion Rock Institute, an Atlas Network partner in Hong Kong, encourages citizens to hold the government accountable for what it chooses to do with taxpayer money. Bill Stacey, chairman of the Lion Rock Institute, reviewed the Mega Events Fund in a recent article. Stacey said, “the private sector would not tolerate a project that was found to be so wasteful.”  In his article, Stacey puts forth that the challenges faced by Hong Kong are a matter of incentives. He suggests that poorly defined programs, rent seeking, and government lag are much to blame for the expenditure problems in Hong Kong. To find out more about the mega issues of bureaucracy and the work the Lion Rock Institute does to combat it, click here.