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Fee waiver issue explained

The Highways Department has completed the procedure for vetting the fee waiver in relation to the hanging of national flags at the lamp posts by a local group to celebrate the National Day holiday.   The department made the statement in response to media enquiries on the hanging of national flags at the lamp posts under its purview, noting that it will notify the group concerned of the refund arrangement as soon as possible.   The statement explained that the Government has all along encouraged community organisations and the public to celebrate National Day and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day together, and express their patriotic feelings premised on the respect for the national flag, regional flag and their designs.   Those who wish to hang flags at the lamp posts, such as for promoting activities by private organisations, can file applications to the department for consideration.   In accordance with the Government's fee-charging principle on cost recovery, the department has to recover the expenses on inspection work carried out by public lighting maintenance contractors during the hanging of flags, the statement pointed out.   In August 2021, the department received an application from a local group for hanging national flags at the lamp posts under its purview to celebrate National Day. After being handled according to the established procedures, the application was approved and the group paid the administrative and inspection fees accordingly.   The department then received a request for granting discretionary exemption to such fees. As there is no fee waiver mechanism in the existing vetting and approval procedure, the department followed up on the arrangements for the waiver application proactively with the relevant departments.   The procedure for vetting and approving the wavier was eventually completed, the statement said, adding that the Highways Department is collaborating with other departments to formulate the detailed arrangements on the waiver of related fees in hanging national flags at lamp posts in the future.
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