Green bonds will fund my new metropolis: Carrie Lam

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Thursday that the government will issue bonds, especially green bonds, to raise funds for her Northern Metropolis project.

A price tag hasn’t been revealed for the plan to develop the northern New Territories into a metropolitan area, but the CE told lawmakers that she is confident it won’t become a burden on the public coffers.

She said the project and the Lantau artificial islands plan will bring wealth to Hong Kong through land sales, property sales and job opportunities.

The CE said issuing bonds will help solve cash flow problems that arise, and consolidate Hong Kong’s position as a bond hub and international financial centre.

“For every mega-scale project, there will be a problem of cash flow… so for the initial stages, the best way to go is to raise funds, from locally, from the mainland, and from the international community,” Lam said during a Legco question session.

“We have been increasing our ratio of bond issuances in the past few years. The central government has been very supportive… So we would definitely use fund-raising, especially green bonds, to fund the initial stages of the development,” she said.

“Of course we will carry out construction in a carbon-free way. These projects will fulfil the requirements of green bonds.”

While lawmakers hailed the Northern Metropolis plan, they expressed concern that it will take too long to complete, asking the CE if could be wrapped up in under 20 years.

Lam said the government will propose amending laws to streamline procedures for development, including when it comes to town planning, reclamation, land resumption and road works.