HONG Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong
has defended the planned $ 485 million price tag for hosting the
1997 meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
Questioned yesterday by the Legislative Council's finance committee,
he said that playing host to the conference involved providing
services and a venue for the conference.
He said the venue was to be the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The conference is expected to draw 10,000 participants, including
3,000 official delegates, 1,000 guests and observers, 3,000 visitors,
1,000 World Bank and IMF staff and 2,000 media representatives.
ccording to the authority, it would have to spend about $ 54
million to rent and convert the Convention Centre in July and August
The authority had to provide 850 office units for senior officials,
delegates, executive directors and staff of the World Bank and
IMF and their joint secretariat.
The authority said past experience of such conferences suggested
that meetings, including the plenary and ancillary sessions, would
last for about 10 days and there would be 3,000 formal and informal
meetings, press conferences, seminars, social functions and other
events organised over the period.
As well, it would have to provide transport facilities, and set
up a special reception lounge at the airport and protection for
Providing meeting and office venues would be the biggest item
of expenditure, it said.
Hosting would mean help from police, the Immigration Department,
the Civil Aviation Department and the Government Information Service.
lthough the authority was seeking to recoup some costs through
sponsorship, it was still too early for potential sponsors to commit
themselves, Mr Yam told the committee.
He said it would bring tangible and intangible benefits to Hong
Kong. PAGE 107 South China Morning Post, July 7, 1995
The authority has estimated that the meeting would generate about
$ 400 million income for Hong Kong.
This included 10,000 participants with projected per capita spending
of $ 4,000 per night in 1997 prices for 10 nights.
"There will also be intangible benefits to Hong Kong," he said.
The presence of the world's leading finance ministers, central
bank governors and top commercial bankers in Hong Kong so soon
after the change of sovereignty will help boost international and
local confidence in Hong Kong.
"The meetings will also underline Hong Kong's status as an international
Committee member Chim Pui-chung asked if the Government was using
the media to promote the conference as a way of limiting potential
damage from a magazine article last month suggesting Hong Kong
had no future after 1997.
Mr Chim asked Mr Yam for assurances that the authority would do
all in its power to contain costs.
"We're not playing fast and loose with money - never," Mr Yam
Legislator Emily Lau asked if costs could be cut by using Government
facilities, and James Lau, executive director with the authority,
said the authority was already discussing ways of using Government
cars for the conference.
It hoped to save $ 10 million through sponsorship, Mr Lau said.
he authority said it had approached more than 100 companies to
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