07 December 2013

Presumption of violence

On Thursday, 5 December, about 20 students and activists peacefully protested across the street from the Australian embassy in Dili to urge Australia to respect Timor-Leste's sovereignty and rights to its undersea oil and gas. In their statement (original Tetum), they urged Australia to "stop stealing and occupying the Timor Sea, but show your good will as a large nation which follows democratic principles to accept a maritime boundary based on international legal principles." They were gradually joined by about 20-30 parents and children from the nearby community.

The nonviolent and nonthreatening demonstration was assisted by four Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) officers who kept the protesters and the traffic separate. After about an hour, the PNTL "Task Force" arrived and, without talking with anyone, immediately fired tear gas to disperse the protesters. The article at left from Diario Nacional describes the excessive force used by police without provocation.

Unfortunately, a Timorese stringer for Agence France-Press (AFP) falsely reported that "About 100 protesters in East Timor have thrown rocks at the Australian embassy," a slander eagerly propagated by media in Australia and around the world. As Mark Twain wrote long before the internet was conceived, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

On Friday morning we asked AFP to issue a retraction, telling them "We are disappointed that this news report criminalizes the nonviolent acts of Timorese people to ask for our sovereignty and dignity. And we are disappointed that the media in Australia and elsewhere so readily propagate a false report without a single confirmation, photo or byline." AFP took eleven hours and police confirmation that the protest was peaceful before they retracted the slander.

Their revised article is more accurate, but more than 24 hours after it was issued, Google found it on the internet only 17 times, while the original one still shows up more than 2,000 times.  Australian radio (audio) also corrected the false stoning report, creating a new controversy by contrasting the facts with police claims that no tear gas was used.

On Friday afternoon, about 100 people joined a three-hour nonviolent demonstration across from the Embassy, with full cooperation of the police. Two representatives were invited into the Australian embassy to give their statement to Ambassador Miles Armitage, who told them he respects their right to demonstrate and will communicate their concerns to Canberra. Although this demonstration was covered by Timor-Leste television and Tempo Semanal, it was largely ignored by the international media, perhaps because all parties behaved peacefully and responsibly.

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Indonesia's invasion of Timor-Leste, beginning a quarter-century of illegal military occupation which killed more than 100,000 Timorese people. The Indonesian military's horrendous violence, abetted by Australia and the United States, was rarely covered by international media and most people around the world were oblivious to it until the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre.

Why are the world's media so eager to report lies about violence committed by people from Timor-Leste, but so reluctant -- in the past and still today -- to report truthfully on those who commit violence against them?

Follow this link for more information about the maritime
boundary dispute between Timor-Leste and Australia.

05 December 2013

As others see Timor-Leste

November-December is scorecard time, as international organizations publish their annual ratings of various nations.  Transparency International just released their 2013 Corruptions Perceptions Index, the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation released their FY 2014 Scorecards, and the World Bank published its Doing Business 2014 Report, each of which compares Timor-Leste with the world. Earlier this week, the IMF released its 66-page Article IV Staff Report (including statistics and a Debt Sustainability Analysis) on Timor-Leste. Many of these indicators reflect a neoliberal, corporate-oriented, pro-globalization perspective which La’o Hamutuk doesn’t agree with. Nevertheless, they are important to understand in this largely unregulated economy which seeks investor-driven economic growth.

This article summarizes key points from each report, with links to the originals. It is not a pretty picture.

Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International (TI)

Timor-Leste scored 30 out of 100 this year, ranking 119th out of 177 countries. This is a little worse than last year, when our score of 33 earned us a rank of 113th out of 176. TI uses “a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions” to develop its index, although Timor-Leste’s score is calculated from only three sources. For more information and graphics, see Transparency International’s website.

Timor-Leste Scorecard from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)

The MCC is a U.S. government agency which enters into long-term “Compact” aid agreements with developing countries which meet certain criteria. Although Timor-Leste has not passed the “compact-eligible” hurdle for many years, we are nearing the end of a three-year MCC Threshold Program which is designed to raise our scores on the Child Health and Control of Corruption indicators. Although both of these scores improved slightly compared with a year ago, they are still far from passing, which would require that we do as well as at least half of the 26 other Low-Middle Income Countries.  In the new scorecard, Timor-Leste passed the same indicators as last year. We improved (+) on nine indicators (most of which we already pass), dropped (-) on six, and were unchanged on three, as follows:
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Freedom of Information (+)
  • Political Rights (+)
  • Natural Resource Protection (+)
  • Health Expenditure (-)
  • Civil Liberties (+)
  • Inflation (+)
  •   Failed
  • Trade Policy (-)
  • Regulatory Quality (+)
  • Control of Corruption (+)
  • Access to credit (-)
  • Land rights and access
  • Child health (+)
  • Immunization Rates (+)
  • Business Start-Up (-)
  • Government Effectiveness (-)
  • Rule of Law (-)
For more information, history and links, see La’o Hamutuk’s web page on the MCC or MCC’s website.

Doing Business Report from the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Every year, Doing Business rates every country on how easy it is for businesses to operate, such as taxes, business registration, contract enforcement, bankruptcy procedures, construction permits, registering property, credit, protection for investors and other regulatory issues.

Earlier this year, Doing Business published a special report comparing g7+ countries with data from DB 2013, as in the graph at right.
They published their DB 2014 global and Timor-Leste reports last month.  In spite of much effort by the IFC, Bank and Government to make Timor-Leste more business-friendly, Timor-Leste dropped five places, from 167th to 172nd out of 189 economies.  We improved slightly in the Paying Taxes indicator but worsened or remained the same in all other categories. For more information, see the Doing Business website.

Article IV Consultation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The IMF sends an assessment team to almost every country almost every year. About a week ago, they released their detailed report from an assessment conducted last June, which had been summarized in an October press release. In addition to describing IMF and Government views about macroeconomic and budget issues, the report includes a Debt Sustainability Analysis, Statistical summary, and updates.  The IMF raised many points – La’o Hamutuk agrees with some but not with the ones in orange:
  • As “one of the most natural resource dependent countries in the world with large developmental needs,” Timor-Leste needs to diversify its economy to generate jobs and reduce poverty, while preventing “rent-seeking behavior.” The “many uncertainties” about future oil revenues after Bayu-Undan production ends in 2024 make diversification crucial. [After the IMF report was written, Bayu-Undan projections were sharply downgraded; production will now end in 2020.]
  • Growth in the productive, labor-intensive sectors of the economy, such as agriculture and manufacturing has been weak, with government spending leading to high imports and inflation. Medium-term growth should be led by the private sector, which must move away from government projects to agriculture, manufacturing and private services.
  • Public spending should be limited to sustainable levels, targeted on projects with high socio-economic returns. The ‘Yellow Road’ scenario presented by the Ministry of Finance should be followed, to achieve “substantial moderation” in “high levels of government spending.” [When the IMF team visited in June, they were told the state would only spend $1.2 billion in 2014 and $1.3b/year in the medium term, but the 2014 budget proposed to Parliament in October will spend $1.5b, so many of the IMF’s projections are already inaccurate.]
  • Petroleum Fund withdrawals should not exceed ESI.
  • The currency should remain the US dollar for the medium term.
  • Borrowing should be coordinated with Petroleum Fund balance, but the Fund should not be used as collateral for debt.
  • Hidden debts, such as those which could be incurred by TimorGAP, should be avoided. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Special Economic Zones should be approached with caution.
  • Management systems in the Government and Central Bank should be strengthened, as should statistical data collection and knowledge transfer to reduce dependence on foreign staff.
  • The budget gap should be filled by concessional borrowing.
  • Minimum wages should be lowered to be in line with ASEAN.

09 November 2013

Audiensia ba Proposta Orsamentu 2014 hahú ona

Maski governu tarde loron sanulu atu aprezenta nia Proposta Orsamentu Jeral Estadu 2014 ba Parlamentu Nasionál, sira hakarak Parlamentu sei aprova orsamentu ne’e molok loron Natal no Deputada/u sira hahú ona audiensia “públiku.” Bele asesu oráriu ba audiensia públiku iha ne’e.

Iha mudansa pozitivu katak Ministériu Finansas publika versaun eletróniku ba livru OJE neen iha sira nia pájina web iha loron 25 Outubru, loron hanesan sira mós haruka orsamentu ne’e ba Parlamentu Nasionál. Loron ida antes Ministériu ne’e mós publika sira nia aprezentasaun no matéria seluk iha semináriu Parlamentár. Dokumentu sira ne’e, ho análize kle’an iha Ingles no Tetum, iha La’o Hamutuk nia pájina web kona ba OJE 2014 ne’ebé sempre atualiza.

Ami apresia ho envelope fiskál tomak ne’ebé hatún hosi billaun $1.65 iha OJE 2013 ba billaun $1.5 iha proposta orsamentu agora. Boot liu hamenus hosi alokasaun orsamentu ba projetu infrastrutura boot ne’ebé dala ruma labele implementa tuir tempu. Maibé alokasaun rekurente kontinua sa’e, no ezekusaun gastu durante tinan 2013 sei atinje dala ruma menus hosi billaun $1.2, nune’e proposta OJE 2014 sei aumenta despeza 25%. La hanesan ho tinan 2013, iha OJE 2014 nafatin foti liu Rendimentu Sustentavel Estimativa (RSE/ESI) hosi Fundu Petrólifeiru, tokon $903 (tokon $632 iha RSE). Espetasaun ba reseita petrólifeiru iha futuru sei tun liu tanba produsaun no mós presu estimadu sei menus, kampu Bayu-Undan no Kitan sei maran molok tinan 2020.

La’o Hamutuk kontente atu haree kreximentu alokasaun ba saúde no edukasaun, maibé setór hirak ne’e nafatin ki’ik liu tuir padraun internasionál. No mós setór agrikultura nudár vida moris maioria povu Timor-Leste ladún hetan atensaun maka’as iha Timor-Leste. Maski auto estrada iha Kosta súl hasai ona, maibé parte balu hosi Projetu Tasi Mane ne’ebé sei nafatin hela iha orsamentu.

Infelizmente, Parlamentu sei rona testemuña hosi Organizasaun Naun-Governmentál uitoan liu duke iha tinan pasadu. Maski La’o Hamutuk hetan konvite hosi Parlamentu Nasionál halo aprezentasaun no observa iha audiensia no seminar iha prosesu orsamentál hitu ne’ebé hala’o dezde tinan 2009, tinan ida ne’e sira la konvida ami, maibé ami sei kontinua análiza ba impaktu proposta orsamentu ba Timor-Leste nia futuru. La'o Hamutuk haruka ona karta ba Deputada/u sira. Ami esplika asuntu balun, hanesan karik PN konvida ona ami atu fo submisaun.

Ami espera katak sidadaun no organizasaun sira seluk mós komunika ho Parlamentu Nasionál, no katak debate tuir mai sei bazeia ba faktu, ativu, transparente no hetan rezultadu di’ak.

05 November 2013

Hearings begin on 2014 budget proposal

Although the Government was ten days late in submitting its proposed 2014 State Budget to Parliament, Parliament still hopes to approve it before Christmas and has begun "public" hearings. Download the hearing schedule here.

In a positive development, the Ministry of Finance posted electronic versions of the six budget books to their website on 25 October, the same day they sent the budget to Parliament. The Ministry also released their presentation (Tetum) to a Parliamentary seminar the previous day. These and other materials, with deeper analyses in English and Tetum, are on La'o Hamutuk's frequently updated web page on the 2014 budget.

We appreciate that the overall fiscal envelope has been reduced from $1.65 billion in the 2013 budget to $1.5b in the proposed one, largely by cutting funding for infrastructure mega-projects which were unlikely to be implemented on schedule. However, recurrent appropriations continue to go up, and executed spending during 2013 will probably be less than $1.2b, so the 2014 proposal still represents a 25% increase. Unlike in 2013, the 2014 budget again spends more than the Estimated Sustainable Income from the Petroleum Fund, $903 million (ESI is $632 million). Expected future oil revenues have dropped markedly due to lower production and price forecasts; the Bayu-Undan and Kitan fields will by exhausted by 2020.

La'o Hamutuk is glad to see increased appropriations for health and education, although they remain below international norms.  However, agriculture, the livelihood of most Timorese people, is still under-served. Although the South Coast Highway has been cut, other parts of the questionable Tasi Mane project remain in the budget.

Unfortunately, Parliament will hear from many fewer non-state witnesses than in past years. Although Parliament has invited La'o Hamutuk to present or observe at hearings and seminars for all seven budget processes conducted since 2009, they did not do so this time. Nevertheless, we will continue to analyze the impact of this budget on Timor-Leste's future, and have written to Members of Parliament (Tetum original) explaining some issues we would have discussed if they had invited us to testify.

We encourage others to study the budget proposal and to share their thoughts with Parliament. We hope that the upcoming debate will be fact-based, lively, transparent and productive.

[This post was updated on 11 November 2013.]

16 October 2013

HASATIL statement for World Food Day


This statement is available as PDF in English, Tetum, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia.

Today, October 16th, 2013, many nations around the world celebrate World Food Day. Unfortunately, in this world we're living in, a lot of poor people are hungry because they do not have access to food, while at the same time many wealthy people suffer from health conditions due to excessive food consumption or imbalanced food diet. Globally, there is enough food for everyone to consume, but it is unequally distributed.

The official theme of this year’s World Food Day is: “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.” This is an opportunity for us to question about:
  •  Non-sustainable food systems that produce poor quality food with low nutritional values, like the processed industrial products full of preservatives, salt, sugar (e.g. in instant meals) and industry-related pollutants.
  • Non-sustainable food systems that damage the environment by using a lot of energy and natural resources to produce industrial food, and causing many forms of pollution like plastics, cans and other materials used for wrappings.
  • Non-sustainable food systems that create social injustice as they do not give value to the work of the farmers but instead generate huge benefits for the agro-chimical industries.
  • Non-sustainable food systems that have altered our food habits, traditional cooking and culture to eat in season, and have lead us to consume a limited variety of food and to prefer unhealthy instant meals.
  • Non-sustainable food systems that promote an industrial agriculture model based on mechanization, the excessive use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and water, as well as standardized "high yielding" seeds produced by laboratories at the expense of the variety of local seeds that are actually more adaptable. The result is a massive loss of biodiversity.
The HASATIL Network, a network of NGOs working to strengthen sustainable agriculture in Timor-Leste, promotes the concept of food sovereignty. Timor-Leste is a small island with its own food products that need to be promoted so that we do not depend too much on food imports. We must develop the agriculture sector sustainably through food diversification and the adoption of an organic and integrated agriculture model, like agro-ecology and permaculture, which follow the natural ecological cycles.

The message to the farmers:

Thank you for your contribution and the great efforts you make to produce good and healthy food. We should not abandon our local original food crops including the wild ones that saved us during our long struggle for independence. We must promote food diversification in our farms, to improve child nutrition and avoid dependence on a few crop species only.

The message to all of us consumers:

We must use our purchasing power to buy products which are healthy, which strengthen the domestic economy through the purchase of local products from small-scale farmers and which are not harmful to the environment. We must give higher value to our local products than to the imported ones and change this mentality consisting in considering eating rice as the only parameter that measures whether one has had his/her meal or not. There is a variety of food products much more nutritious than rice (carbohydrate), such as vegetables, fruits, beans, cassava, meat, fish, etc. We must not eat with the only objective to be full; we must know the nutritional value of the food we eat.

Our message to the Timor-Leste Government, which has an important role in guaranteeing that development benefit all Timorese people, of the current and future generations:

Food security must not be viewed from the quantitative aspect only. Every year we import huge amount of foods (especially rice) but our level of malnutrition remains high. We consume much more rice and much less fish than other countries . The Government should address the malnutrition issue from a qualitative aspect, and focus on food diversification and education about nutrition. Priority should be given to the development of the livestock and poultry sectors, fisheries, forestry rehabilitation and protection and rural infrastructure.

The Government should take measures to reduce food imports and regulate the import of chemical products that have bad effects both on health and the environment. The productive sector and small-scale sustainable co-operatives should be developed to substitute our economy that is heavily dependent on petroleum revenues.

The Government should promote a sustainable agriculture model that doesn’t depend on expensive inputs, benefit small farmers and contribute to nature enhancement like agro-ecology and permaculture.

At the international level, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Sr. Olivier de Schutter has already shown that the future of agriculture is agro-ecology . Thus, we encourage Timor-Leste Government to build a sustainable food system for our nation, to guarantee our food sovereignty.

HASATIL Advocacy Team and Secretariat

  • La’o Hamutuk Institute
  • HAK Association
  • Haburas Foundation
  • Fokupers
  • Caritas Baucau
  • Kdadalak Sulimutuk Insitute (KSI)
  • Haburas Moris Organization (OHM-Maliana)

14 October 2013

Making the Business Activities Survey even more useful

The RDTL Directorate-General of Statistics (DGS) has published Business Activities Surveys for 2010 and 2011, and the 2012 edition will be released this month.  Two weeks ago, DGS invited users of this data to discuss possible changes for the questionnaire for the 2013 Survey,  which will be conducted in early 2014. After a lively discussion with MoF, ADB, SEPFOPE, ILO, UNFPA, La'o Hamutuk, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and others, DGS invited written suggestions. The rest of this blog is an abridged version of La'o Hamutuk's submission.

Suggestions for revisions to the Business Activities Survey

La’o Hamutuk, as a Timor-Leste civil society organization which tries to understand Timor-Leste’s economy and encourage sustainable, equitable development, is grateful for the invitation from the Directorate-General for Statistics to join the discussion about the Business Activities Survey (BAS). As you know, we often use DGS research and publications, including the BAS, and find them very valuable.

The BAS is essential to a solid understanding of Timor-Leste’s macro- and micro-economy. Enhancing the BAS could provide better information about critical issues here, including:
  • Import dependency (we have a 95% trade deficit)
  • The effect of public spending (which underlies about half our non-oil GDP)
  • The all-important productive, non-oil, non-state-funded, private sector (which is currently very small but needs to grow rapidly)
  • How much of Timor-Leste’s wealth stays in the country? (Most of the revenue from our declining petroleum reserves goes out of Timor-Leste.)
Large businesses comprise most of Timor-Leste’s GDP. As small businesses may have difficulty completing a sophisticated questionnaire, we believe that DGS’s current use of separate questionnaires for small and large businesses should continue, and our suggestions are for the longer one.

It would be useful to expand the portion of the economy covered by the BAS to include international agencies, non-profit organizations and public institutions, which are significant portions of Timor-Leste’s employment and economic activity. In addition, a separate survey of the informal sector, which involves more than 2/3 of the working-age population, would be invaluable in understanding how to develop our economy.

The BAS can help confirm or identify discrepancies in other data. Therefore, it is important to collect data independently as much as practical, rather than relying on other sources.

It would be useful to know what percentages of businesses are owned by foreigners and what percentage by Timorese nationals. Can the BAS find out what portion of equity is owned by Timorese entities and by non-Timorese? Since preferential contracting is one of the ways that the Government honors veterans for their service to the nation, it would also be interesting to know how many companies are owned by veterans, how they contribute to various sectors, and if their statistics are significantly different from non-veteran companies.

Some of the "Business Type" categories are too broad and should be disaggregated.

Are people who do unpaid labor (due to family obligations or in exchange for housing, tuition, a commission, etc.) considered as employees? They are a large part of Timor-Leste’s labour force.

At present, Timor-Leste’s non-petroleum export sector is very small, according to Trade Statistics reports (although we worry that some exports may not be counted in these reports). It would be interesting to ask what portion of sales of goods is to customers outside Timor-Leste or who intend to sell the goods overseas. Since expanding TL’s exports is often mentioned as a goal for economic development, this would provide a baseline from which it could be measured, expanding and/or cross-checking the Trade Statistics.

Approximately half of Timor-Leste’s “non-oil” economy is fuelled by public spending (90% of which comes from oil money). It would be useful to know, for each business, how much of their income comes from:
  • RDTL Government contracts or purchases
  • Other companies implementing RDTL Government contracts (to identify subcontractors)
For labour costs, it would be interesting to disaggregate Timorese and foreign nationals. In the 2011 BAS (page 5), 22% of total expenses are listed as “other expenses,” which would be good to disaggregate. For purchases, it would be interesting to know:
  • How much was imported directly by the business?
  • How much was produced overseas but purchased from a local importer or other business?
The BAS doesn’t ask directly about profits, but they can be calculated by subtracting outlays from income. Capital flight is a problem in all developing countries, and a particularly severe one here where our national wealth is finite and shrinking. Timorese businesspeople often complain about difficulties in raising capital, while foreign contractors repatriate large portions of public disbursements to their home countries. Is there a way for the BAS to ask how much money is taken out of the country by business owners, in addition to what they spend on expenses?

It would be good to ask if goods and materials purchased for capital investment came from Timor-Leste or from overseas.The current questions are not clear, and perhaps a category should be added to cover purchases of imported assets from a local supplier.

09 October 2013

LH protests contract award to CNI22

Last week, Timor-Leste newspapers published an Intent to Award nearly three million dollars in contracts for school furniture. La'o Hamutuk was astonished to see that more than $1 million will go to Chinese Nuclear Industry Construction Company No. 22, which had performed atrociously after it got a $300 million contract in 2008 to build Timor-Leste's power plants and national electricity grid.

We met with the Chair of the National Procurement Commission to express our concerns and wrote a formal protest letter (Tetum translation). The rest of this blog is adapted from our 8 October letter to President Aniceto do Rosario of the  National Procurement Commission.

Dear Excellency,

As we discussed last Friday, La’o Hamutuk has concerns regarding the Intent to Award two contracts totaling $1,047,559 to Chinese Nuclear Industry Construction Company No. 22 (CNI22) to supply school chairs and tables.

We believe that it would be inappropriate to award contracts to this company, with which Timor-Leste has had extensive experience. CNI22 may not be blacklisted by the World Bank or other international agencies, perhaps because they have never done business with them.  As a Chinese state-owned company, they may be protected against honest assessments by international agencies. However, this must not prevent Timor-Leste from learning from our own experience.

We are relieved that CNI22’s contract for the national electricity project is nearing completion. However, the company is looking for more of Timor-Leste’s money through this school furniture tender, the Suai Airport, and perhaps other contracts.  We hope that they will never receive another contract from Timor-Leste.

In mid-2008, CNI22 proposed to Timor-Leste to build a national electricity system involving three second-hand heavy oil generating stations and a national high-voltage grid. As reported in detail on La’o Hamutuk’s website and in our Bulletin, Timor-Leste awarded CNI22 a $367 million contract, the largest in the nation’s history, in October 2008. The project was seriously flawed in concept, design, implementation, community relations, and quality of work. The company repeatedly failed to meet its commitments regarding keeping on schedule, quality of materials, employing Timorese workers, worker safety, and environmental management. They refused to comply with directives from the supervising consultant and others.

After two years, when CNI22 had shown that it was incapable of building the power plants it had proposed, they were re-contracted to Puri Akraya Engineering, increasing the cost by hundreds of millions of dollars and delaying the project for several years.

You don’t have to take La’o Hamutuk’s word for this. For the last four years, Timor-Leste has hired ELC/Bonifica to supervise the power project construction. Their monthly reports describe CNI22’s “overall performance” as “poor” nearly every month. Last week, at a seminar in the Ministry of Public Works on this project, ELC Project Manager Massimiliano de Carli reiterated several times that: “The most important element in implementing any project is selecting the right contractor, appreciating their proved experience, skills and capabilities.” It is obvious to people with detailed knowledge of CNI22’s work on the electricity project that CNI22 should not have been selected, and we are puzzled that Timor-Leste wants to give them more business.

Outside observers were also aware early on. In December 2008, U.S. ambassador Hans Klemm sent a "sensitive" internal cable from Dili to Washington. Wikileaks later published the "for official use only" cable without authorization. It says:
In July 2008, news surfaced that the government would purchase two large electricity generating plants from a Chinese firm that would also be contracted to put into place a nationwide transmission grid. On this occasion, the government issued an international tender, although the widespread understanding in Dili was that the purchase had been agreed before the government announced the tender. Although observers described the tender announcement as insubstantial and technically inadequate, fourteen international firms submitted bids. The decision to award the contract to the Chinese firm again was made by the prime minister with very little consultation with line ministers. The power plants are old equipment (with some 40 years of service in China already behind them) that will be dissembled, exported and refitted in Timor-Leste. They will burn heavy oil that Timor will have to import. Experts describe the contracted installation of a national transmission grid within two years as a fantasy. The World Bank reportedly has urged the government to cancel the contract, absorb the penalty, and re-tender the project.
We also wonder what CNI22 knows about school furniture. The company’s description gives no indication that they work in this area:
During the past 50 years, CNI22 has completed more than 2000 construction and installation works, and the total construction area was over 2 million m2. Our company has undertaken a large number of construction works of power plants, factories, housing, airports, bridges, roads etc, and for the good quality of our projects and technology innovation, CNI22 is awarded more than 80 national and provincial and municipal prizes, including the construction engineering “Luban Prize”. CNI22 have offices in 39 countries, and we still have Projects under construction in Algeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Vietnam and East Timor. In the field of civil engineering, Our company possesses 8 grade-1 qualifications, including housing construction, electrical engineering, mechanical and electrical installation works, steel works, the installation of lifting equipment, blasting and demolition engineering and nuclear engineering and so on.
Finally, we encourage the National Procurement Commission to consider how contract awards can help Timor-Leste businesses grow, creating employment and keeping more of our national wealth in this country. Many Timorese companies can make chairs and desks appropriate for our schools, and this tender is a valuable opportunity to help them develop. Thirteen years ago, La’o Hamutuk and others raised this issue with the World Bank and AusAID, and the agencies made changes in procurement of school furniture to enable local companies to participate. Today, in this sovereign nation spending our own money, we should not throw away this opportunity.

CNI22 will import furniture from China, sending our people’s money outside the country. Their record gives ample reason not to trust the quality or timeliness of their promises.

Many large tenders here require skills, resources or experience that Timor-Leste companies do not yet possess, making it even more important to ensure that tenders which do not have such complex requirements, like this one, will use locally-made products rather than those imported from afar.

We encourage the National Procurement Commission not to award this or any other contract to Chinese Nuclear Industry Construction Company No. 22, and to develop a system of blacklisting companies which have shown bad faith, incompetence or other inability to meet their commitments.

La'o Hamutuk hopes that everyone who wants Timor-Leste's finite petroleum wealth to be used appropriately will pay close attention to procurement processes announced in the newspapers and the Ministry of Finance website and recently reopened Procurement Portal. Transparency is only useful if people are watching!

P.S. Al Jazeera later reported this story, based on La'o Hamutuk's information.

14 September 2013

Konsultasaun ba proposta Kódigu Mineiru hahú ona

Informasaun foun, Junu 2014: MPRM hatete ba La'o Hamutuk katak sira muda ona sira nia planu, no sei LAIHA konsultasaun publiku iha Dili kona-ba ezbosu lei ida ne'e.  Sira hanoin atu haruk nia ba Konsellu Ministru iha tempo badak.

Ministériu Petróleu no Rekursu Minerais ko’alia ona ho ema barak iha nasaun ida ne’e kona ba ezbosu Lei Mineiru ba lisensiamentu no regulamentu operasionál minerais nian iha nasaun ne’e. Konsultasaun primeiru iha Oekusi hahú iha 26 Agosto, no konsultasaun tuir mai sei hala’o iha Suai iha 25 Setembru. La’o Hamutuk sírkula ezbosu lei ne’e no liu husi pájina ne’e ami enkoraja ita boot sira atu estuda no fó sujestaun.

Operasaun mineiru kria problema barak ba ema iha mundu tomak. Maski sei fó rendimentu ba governu no kompañia transnasional sira, atividade operasaun ne’e dala barak hamosu destruisaun ambientál, kria problema hanesan eviksaun; poluisaun rai, bee no atmosfera; violasaun direitus umanus; konflitu; funu no harahun buat barak ba ema hirak ne’ebé hela besik ka iha area atividade operasaun minerais.

Iha Novembru 2008, Sekretáriu Estadu Rekursu Naturais estabelese
Asosiasaun Lia Na’in ne’ebé simbolikamente fó direitu esplorasaun
mineira nian ba Primeiru Ministru Xanana Gusmão.
Esperiénsia hatudu katak regulasaun ne’ebé efetivu sai esensiál (maski dala barak la sufisiente), atu redús devastasaun no proteje povu nia direitu. Haree ba realidade katak atividade minerais la'os sustentavel (ho gastu rikusoin minerais naun renovavel hodi hetan osan), ne’e sempre iha dezafiu boot atu minimiza impaktu negativu. Ami espera katak konsultasaun públiku ne’ebé efetivu - no mós ho boa vontade hosi governu no Parlamentu hodi rona - sei ajuda implementa lei ne’ebé sei proteje ita nia povu nia interese ba tempu badak no mós tempu naruk.

La’o Hamutuk halo scan ezbosu lei ne’ebé inklui artigu 178 iha ezbosu Kódigu Mineiru, ne’ebé ita bele download iha Ingles hanesan PDF ka dokumentu Word. MPRM mós fasilita versaun Tetun no Portugés.

Ministériu Petróleu no Rekursu Minerais seidauk husu atu hakerek submisaun, maibé ami espera katak sira sei konsidera hanoin balu hosi ema matenek na’in sira, espesialmente ba ema ne’ebé iha esperiénsia ba operasaun mineira nian. Labele ignora atividade operasaun ne’e tanba nia risku boot liu hanesan lisaun ne’ebé hatudu iha nasaun hotu. La’o Hamutuk husu komentáriu no sujestaun atu aumenta ami nia submisaun ne’ebé ami sei hakerek (favor bele haruka ba laohamutuk@gmail.com), no ami enkoraja ba públiku no organizasaun sira atu haruka sira nia komentáriu ba Ministru Alfredo Pires. La’o Hamutuk kontente atu publika iha ami nia pájina web kualkér submisaun ka análize ne’ebé ita boot sira fahe ba ami.

08 September 2013

Draft Mining Law consultation starts

Lee blog ida ne'e iha Tetum.

Update, June 2014: MPRM told La'o Hamutuk that they have changed their plans, and there will NOT be any public consultation on this law in Dili. They expect to send it to the Council of Ministers soon.

Timor-Leste's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (MPRM) has been talking with people around the country about a proposed law and code to license and regulate mining operations in the country.  The first consultation was in Oecusse on 26 August, and another will take place in Suai on 25 September. La'o Hamutuk is circulating the draft law through this posting, and we encourage people to study it and offer suggestions.

Mining operations create problems for people all over the world. Although they may provide income for governments and transnational companies, they often result in environmental destruction; displacement; pollution of land, air and water; human rights violations; conflict; war and other devastating consequences for people living near or downstream from the mines.

Experience shows that effective regulation is essential (although not always sufficient) to reduce damage and protect people's rights. Given the intrinsic non-sustainability of mining activities (which use up non-renewable mineral resources in order to provide cash), it is always challenging to minimize their negative impacts. We hope that effective public consultation -- together with the willingness of the Government and Parliament to listen -- can help Timor-Leste enact legislation which will protect our people's short- and long-term interests.

In November 2008, the State Secretariat for Natural Resources created an
association of Timor-Leste's traditional leaders (lia nain) who symbolically
handed over the right to explore for minerals to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
La'o Hamutuk scanned the English translation of the draft law and associated 178-article draft Mining Code, which you can download as a PDF or Word file. MPRM has also provided Portuguese and Tetum versions.

MPRM has not yet asked for written submissions, and we hope that they will consider input from knowledgeable people, especially those who have experience with mining operations.  The risks are too high to ignore lessons already learned all over the world. La'o Hamutuk welcomes comments and suggestions to improve the submission we will write (please send them to laohamutuk@gmail.com), and we encourage people and organizations to send their own comments to Minister Alfredo Pires. La'o Hamutuk is happy to web-publish any submissions and analyses which are shared with us.

07 September 2013

LH Bulletin highlights land rights, food sovereignty

After a lapse of several years, the La'o Hamutuk Bulletin has resumed publication.  The July 2013 issue includes:
  • Whom Will the Land Laws Empower?
  •      Land Law glossary
  •      New books on land consultation
  • Food Sovereignty and Food Security
  •      Seed Policy glossary
  •      La'o Hamutuk Submission on Seed Policy 
  • Editorial: Together We Can End Impunity
Paper copies of the Bulletin are available in English or Tetum from La'o Hamutuk's office in Bebora, Dili. The Bulletin can also be read online in English or Tetum or downloaded as PDF in English or Tetum.

Click here for links to all previous Bulletins and a list of the articles they contain.

19 July 2013

How long will the Petroleum Fund carry Timor-Leste?

June 2014: The paper this describes is online in English and Tetum.
This article was updated on 25 July 2013.
For further updates, or to read an October 2013 version as a paper, see our web page on this subject.

This blog summarizes a paper we presented at the Timor-Leste Studies Association on 15 July. Download the presentation (which has many more graphics) as PowerPoint (6 MB) or PDF (2MB).  You can also download the underlying Excel spreadsheet to verify the model or explore what happens with other assumptions.

Historical case, if current trends continue
Oil and gas currently provide 95% of Timor-Leste's state revenues and 80% of GDP. Income from exporting nonrenewable petroleum wealth is channeled through a Petroleum Fund which contains US$13 billion. Many believe that the Fund’s balance and investments will continue to pay for state activities after the oil and gas fields are exhausted, which could be by 2025 if the Greater Sunrise project remains stalled. Unfortunately, the Petroleum Fund may be empty by then.

La’o Hamutuk has developed a spreadsheet model to predict approximately how long the Petroleum Fund can finance state activities. The model incorporates historical and projected data, showing the effects of external factors (like oil prices and interest rates) and policy decisions (such as tax and spending levels, borrowing, capital investment). We hope that it will support prudent, evidence-based planning and decision-making.

In each graph, the gray box at left summarizes the assumptions, while the green box at right summarizes the outcomes. The vertical scale is in millions of U.S. dollars (up to $20 billion), while the horizontal axis shows years from 2008 to 2040. The background turns red when Timor-Leste's desired spending exceeds our income and we can no longer pay for planned state activities. Click on any graphic to see it larger.

How long will the Petroleum Fund carry Timor-Leste?

Reference case, more optimistic than recent history
  • With historic trends and current policies, until 2024, with 96% austerity after 2026. This is the case shown above at left.
  • If we’re lucky and smarter, until 2027, with 67% austerity after 2029. This more optimistic scenario, shown at right, is our Reference Case.
  • With a lot of luck and skill, until 2036, with 56% austerity.
  • With hopes and dreams, until 2037.
  • If we’re lucky, strategic, prudent and wise, until our non-oil economy can replace it. This will require a change of direction from current policies.
What can we do to prevent Timor-Leste from going
broke before these girls finish secondary school?

Petroleum Dependency

2013 State Budget     $1,648 million
        $787 million (48%) will come from the Petroleum Fund in 2013.
        $680 million (40%) more is from the PF in the past and future.
Non-oil GDP in 2011          $1,046 million
Petroleum GDP in 2011    $3,463 million (81% of total)
South Sudan is the only country more dependent on oil and gas exports than Timor-Leste.
  • State activities, paid for with oil money, are about half of our “non-oil” economy, because some of this money circulates in the local economy.  
  • Our GDP only grows because of increasing state expenditure.
  • Balance of trade (2012): $670m imports, $31m exports.
  • Half of Timor-Leste's 2013 State Budget is to build physical infrastructure, but spending on health and education is less than international norms.
  • The Budget goes up much faster than inflation, faster than the GDP and faster than almost every other nation.

Sustainable budgeting is not a new idea in Timor-Leste

State income for the Reference Case

This model

  • Estimates future state revenues and expenditures based on current trends, external factors and future decisions.
  • Provides approximate, incremental and relative results, not precise predictions.
  • Is open source – we welcome discussion and improvement.
  • Takes an engineering approach, based on history, explicit assumptions and causality. It dos not include economic predictions -- GDP, inflation, poverty or trade balance -- or use dubious correlations.

Outputs from the model

  • Balance remaining in Petroleum Fund
  • Spending and revenues year-by-year
  • Severity of budget cuts if desired expenditures cannot be paid for
  • Balance owed from borrowing
  • Other outputs, not shown in the graphs:

  • Estimated Sustainable Income from Petroleum Fund
  • Breakdown of spending: recurrent (salaries, transfers, goods & services, operation & maintenance), debt service, minor and development capital
  • Breakdown of income: Electricity ratepayers, loans, domestic taxes, oil revenues, Petroleum Fund return
State expenditures for the Reference Case

Assumptions and inputs which can be modified

  • Global inflation, TL population growth, budgetary inter-relationships
  • Oil prices: Brent or WTI; EIA high/low/reference price cases; gas/oil price differential
  • Petroleum production: recoverable amounts from Bayu-Undan and Sunrise
  • Greater Sunrise development: when and if it is developed, where the LNG Plant is, and how revenues are shared with Australia
  • Return on Petroleum Fund investments
  • Domestic revenues, including recovery of fuel costs for generating electricity
  • Recurrent expenditure, including maintenance of capital investment
  • Capital expenditure:  Port, airport and Tasi Mane projects components: inclusion and costs
  • Loans: existing, planned and possible for projects and deficit, including amounts, interest and repayment periods
  • Ministry of Finance “Yellow Road” and other sustainable scenarios from the MoF and elsewhere

The PowerPoint includes examples of comparisons with the Reference Case

La'o Hamutuk suggests a more achievable path than the "Yellow
Road" suggested by the Ministry of Finance, which might allow
enough time to develop Timor-Leste's non-oil economy in a
sustainable way. It will require significant policy changes.
  • Without Greater Sunrise
  • With higher B-U prices and production
  • Higher Petroleum Fund return (8%)
  • Lower Petroleum Fund return (4%)
  • Recover 80% of EDTL fuel costs
  • Cancel Tasi Mane project (Suai Supply Base & highway)
  • Full Tasi Mane project (including refinery but not LNG plant)
  • Finance full Tasi Mane project with loans
  • Increase revenue growth (from 10% to 13%)
  • Reduce spending growth (from 15% to 12%)
  • MoF “Yellow Road” - impossible
  • LH Yellow Road: ESI + domestic revenues + capital + maintenance

Further analysis

La'o Hamutuk will continue to refine this model, with deeper analysis and incorporating new information and ideas. Possible enhancements include:
  • Other capital investment decisions and projects
  • More refined recurrent spending projections, including pensions
  • Possible future oil and gas discoveries
  • Links between human & physical investment and revenue growth
  • Baby boom population dynamics
  • Impact of local inflation

26 June 2013

TL Donors Conference materials online

Last week, Timor-Leste hosted the annual Development Partners Meeting, which included presentations by La'o Hamutuk (also Tetum)  and many others.  With the help of several participants, we have assembled more than 50 of the speeches, presentations, documents and other materials, in English, Tetum and Portuguese.  These include presentations by Government officials, donors, the UN, the private sector, civil society and guests.  You can access them by clicking here. 

Semana kotuk, Governu Timor-Leste organiza enkontru anuál ho parseiru dezenvolvimentu sira, inklui aprezentasaun husi La’o Hamutuk (mós Ingles) no ema seluk barak. Ho asisténsia husi partisipante balun, ami koleta liu 50 diskursu, aprezentasaun, dokumentu no matéria seluk iha Tetum, Ingles no Portugés. Sira ne’e inklui aprezentasaun husi ofisiál sira estadu nian, doadór sira, ONU, setór privadu, sosiedade sivíl no bainaka seluk. Ita boot bele asesu sira hotu ba kliik iha ne’e.

22 June 2013

Gov. & parseiru sira tenke dezenvolve ekonomia ho sériu

Durante loron 19-20 Juñu 2013, Ministériu Finansas Timor-Leste nian sai na’in ba Reuniaun Anuál ho Parseirus Dezenvolvimentu Timor-Leste nian (TLDPM) iha Dili. Fongtil husu La'o Hamutuk atu fó aprezentasaun kona ba Dezenvolvimentu Ekonómiku, no ami halo blog ida ne'e husi aprezentasaun ida ne'e. Ita bele hetan aprezentasaun no dokumentu sira iha Tetum no Ingles husi ami nia pájina web kona-ba TLDPM 2013. PowerPoint husi aprezentasaun ida ne'e (mós Ingles).

Deklarasaun Sosiedade Sivíl
ba Enkontru Timor-Leste ho Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu iha 2013
Setór Ekonómiku

Dezenvolve husi La'o Hamutuk, World Vision Timor-Leste, Kolping Nasionál Timor-Leste, Luta Hamutuk, Juventude ba Progresu no Lezival.

Timor-Leste presiza dezenvolve ekonomia ida ne’ebé ekuitavel no sustentável.

Ba da uluk, ami apresia tebes ba Governu Timor-Leste no Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu sira ne’ebé hadi’ak sira nia kooperasaun ho Sosiedade Sivíl, inklui apresia Yellow Road Workshop foin lalais ne’ebé hala’o ona husi Governu konvida ami atu diskute kona-ba dezenvolvimentu.

Ami fiar katak Governu no Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu hatudu ona sira nia jenuínu atu dezenvolve rai ida ne’e, no ami espera katak dezenvolvimentu sira ne’e sei hamenus dezafiu ne’ebé Timor-Leste hasoru, hanesan falta rekursu umanus, dependénsia ba petróleu, dependénsia maka’as ba importasaun, ignora dezenvolvimentu setór naun petróleu, no mós kualidade despeza estadu nian ne’ebé sei fraku. Tanba ne’e, ami sujere ba Governu no Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu sira atu rona hanoin sira husi ema barak no instituisaun sira seluk hodi muda polítika ba dezenvolve ekonomia ne’ebé ekuitavel no sustentável. Katak garante povu hotu iha direitu hanesan atu hetan distribuisaun rikusoin liu husi asesu ba setór edukasaun, saúde, bee mós no agrikultura. Ekonomia wainhira sustentável iha ne’ebé bele dezenvolve mós iha futuru la’ós iha tinan balu nia laran de’it.

Timor-Leste moris tiha ona iha “malisan rekursu” nia laran, no ami fiar katak parseiru dezenvolvimentu sira iha knar importante atu ajuda ami nia Governu hodi lori nasaun ne’e sai hosi malisan ida ne’e. Ami sempre fiar katak úniku dalan ne’ebé Timor-Leste tenke foti mak dezenvolve “Konseitu Dezenvolvimentu Ekonomia ida ne’ebé mak Ekuitavel no Sustentável”.

Planu Estratéjiku Dezenvolvimentu presiza halo revizaun.

Ami apresia ba objetivu PEDN nian atu halakon pobreza no lori povu ba moris di’ak. Tinan rua ona Timor-Leste hahú atu implementa PEDN ne’e, no ita aprende ona buat balu husi esperiénsia, prosesu no mós ho informasaun foun ne’ebé iha. Ami fiar katak, ohin mak oportunidade di’ak ba ita atu halo revizaun no muda ita nia estratéjia hodi atinje objetivu PEDN.

Durante tinan rua ne’e, despeza estadu nian barak liu ba setór infrastrutura fíziku liu-liu iha Projetu Tasi Mane no Eletrisidade. Ita ignora tiha atu dezenvolve infrastrutura umanu, edukasaun, saúde, agrikultura no peska, bee moos, indústria ki’ik no eko-turismu-setor ida ne’ebé bele hadi’a povu maioria ninia moris.

Tanba ne’e, ami sujere atu ita muda diresaun hodi prioritiza setór servisu sosiál nian ba futuru. Bainhira ita la hahú muda diresaun ida ne’e ohin loron, ita sei laiha tan rekursu atu dezenvolve setór sira ne’e, bainhira ita nia riku-soin petróleu no gas ne’ebé limitadu ne’e mamuk tiha ona iha dékada oin mai.

Ita tenke hasees-an hosi dependénsia petróleu ba dezenvolvimentu ne’ebé mak sustentável.

Timor-Leste nudár nasaun segundu iha mundu mak nia ekonomia depende liu ba esportasaun petróleu no gas. Osan barak ne’ebé suli hosi rekursu naun renovavel ida ne’e halo ita ignora tiha dezenvolve setór potensiál seluk ne’ebé bele substitui petróleu bainhira ita nia rekursu petróleu maran tiha ona bele sustenta ita hafoin mina hotu.

Agrikultura mak setór ida ne’ebé importante ba futuru Timor-Leste, atu sustenta no fornese meius subsistensia ba ita nia povu maioria. Infelizmente setór ida ne’e la hetan prioridade hosi Governu, ne’ebé hetan de’it 2% hosi Orsamentu Estadu tinan ida ne’e.

Konta Nasionál 2000-2011 ne’ebé foin lalais ne’e publika hosi Diresaun Jerál Estatístika (DJE) nian foka sai katak husi total ita nia Gross Domestic product (GDP) iha 2011 iha biliaun $5.8, no 81% ne’e mai hosi ekstrasaun petróleu no gas. “GDP naun petrolíferu” maizumenus biliaun $1.1 de’it.  Maske nune’e, metade hosi GDP naun petróleu ida ne’e mai hosi despeza estadu rasik ne’ebé besik 94% mai hosi rendimentu petrolíferu.

Ita nia dependénsia ba importasaun aumenta beibeik. Durante 2011, Timor-Leste esporta tokon $34 iha bens (esklui mina-rai) no tokon $77 ba iha servisu, no importa tokon $325 iha bens no tokon $1,033 ba servisu (la inklui setór petróleu).  Tinan 2012, importasaun sasán aumenta dala rua: tokon $670 ba sasán tomak hanesan ekipamentu eletrisidade, kombustivel, veíkulu, besi, foos, bebidas no simentu. No ita nia esportasaun tokon $31 de’it, ne’ebé maioria mai hosi kafé. Ohin deficit merkadoria hirak ne’e ita bele taka ho osan hosi reseita petróleu. Maibé bainhira ita la dezenvolve setór ekonomia naun-petróleu nian no redús importasaun ohin, ita sei la iha osan atu importa ka fó asisténsia sosiál bainhira ita nia rezerva mina-rai no gas maran.  [Fonte: RDTL DGE Quarterly Statistical Indicators (4q2012) no 2011 External Trade Statistics.]

Tanba ne’e, ami husu ba ita nia Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu sira bele ajuda Governu hodi suporta agrikultór sira atu aumenta sira nia produsaun, aumenta sira nia matenek no ajuda sira ho teknolojia sira ne’ebé sustentável no apropriadu ba sira nia moris. Maske nune’e, ami hein katak ajuda sira ne’e la’ós atu importa tan fini, adubu kímiku no sosa tratór ne’ebé la sustentável no sei estraga meiu-ambiente. Basa, ami fiar katak uza teknolojia sira ne’ebé la sustentável sei estraga prinsipiu no valor sósiu kulturál.

Kreximentu ekonomia “rua digitu” la’o ho inflasaun, la benefisia ema barak.

Beibeik no dala barak ona Governu liu hosi komunikadu, palestra no dokumentu ofisiál hateten katak, Timor-Leste iha kreximentu ekonomia non-oil GDP “rua digitu.” Ami triste tanba kreximentu ekonomia ida ne’e akompaña ho nivel inflasaun ida ne’ebé “rua digitu” mós, no aumenta pobreza no hamlaha maske nasaun ida ne’e gasta ona osan dolar biliaun ba biliaun.

Inflasaun hanehan maka’as ema kiak, hamenus kapasidade atu sosa sasán, no sei aumenta pobreza ba sira ne’ebé hela iha area rural no mós sira ne’ebé laiha servisu. Ita nia inflasaun ida ne’e akontese tanba ita la konsege kria ekonomia produtivu ida ne’ebé forte iha rai laran atu bele absorve despeza estadu nian ne’ebé sa’e maka’as tinan-tinan.

Aleinde ne’e, distribuisaun rekursu ekonomia tomak la justu ba povu sira, liu-liu sira ne’ebé hela iha area rural. Maski ekonomia maiór parte husi esporta mina no gas, ne’ebé pertense ba povu tomak, so grupu ki’ik oan ida husi klase aas mak hetan benefísiu boot. 10% ema sira ne’ebé riku liu hetan rendimentu dala 14 kompara ho rendimentu ne’ebé kiak liu 10%, maski agrikultura subsistensia no barter inklui ona. Medida rendimentu perkapita kada fulan nian iha tokon $40 no ki’ik liu mak tokon $24 iha Oecusse. Ida ne’e hatudu katak metade hosi populasaun Timor-Leste ne’e nia rendimentu menus $1.33 ba kada ema ba kada loron. [Fonte: RDTL DGE Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2011.]

Ita hotu tenke servisu hamutuk atu enfrenta dezafiu atu muda situasaun sira ne’e ba dalan ida ne’ebé sustentável liu. Mudansa sistema ekonomia, dezenvolve setór naun petróleu, liu-liu agrikultura no peska atu ita bele fornese ai han ba ita nia an rasik. Barak ko’alia kona ba “ekonomia inklusivu,” maibé fó benefísiu ba ema uitoan de’it, ita tenke koko hamutuk atu atinje justisa ekonómiku, ne’ebé ema hotu hetan no simu nia parte justu.

Ita tenke iha esforsu atu atinje soberania ai han, no valorija ita nia kolleita no prodús sasán ba nesesidade bázika hodi substitui sasán maioria mak ita importa hela. Indústria ki’ik no prosesamentu agríkola no peska ba konsumu lokál bele hadi’ak balansu komérsiu no fó servisu, no mós sei ajuda ita atu ekonomikamente no mós polítikamente sai independente duni. Iha tempu ne’ebé hanesan, turizmu no fatin ba merkadu esportasaun bele aumenta vizita estranjeiru.

Ami husu ba Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu Timor Leste atu ajuda ami atu prodús ba ami nia merkadu doméstiku hanesan“value added” ba povu Timor-Leste rasik, duke luta atu kompete hasoru agrikultura indústria sira husi nasaun seluk.

Governu tenke kontinua hamenus ninia gastu total.

Ba tinan ida ne’e, ami apresia tebes ba esforsu Governu hodi redús nivel kreximentu orsamentu estadu nian. Ami hanoin mudansa ida ne’e tenke kontinua no mós akompaña ho dezeñu orsamentu ida ne’ebé realistiku liu ba despeza infrastrutura nian, basa, partikulármente ida ne’e sei ajuda orsamentu tuir liña realidade nian.

Redús nivel kreximentu orsamentál ida ne’e iha tinan ne’e hatún osan ne’ebé atu foti hosi Fundu Petrolíferu hodi la’o tuir nivel Rendimentu Sustentável Estimadu, Governu foti biliaun $0.8 hosi Fundu Petrolíferu kompara ho 2012 ne’ebé foti biliaun $1.5. Ami hein atu disiplina Governu nian ida ne’e tenke la’o iha tinan sira oin mai, atu nune’e bele garante iha fiskál sustentabilidade ekonomia ba jerasaun sira ohin loron no mós ba jerasaun sira ne’ebé sei mai. Maske, nune’e ita hatene katak bele iha redusaun iha 2013 tanba tinan kotuk ita hasai barak liu duke ita presiza; 41% orsamentu 2013 finansia ho osan mak foti husi Fundu Petrolíferu durante 2012, no 48% seluk sei selu husi osan foun ne’ebé foti husi Fundu Petrolíferu.

Despeza rekorente iha OJE 2013, 21% as liu kompara ho gastu OJE 2012, eskala neineik liu duke 37% sa'e husi 2011 ba 2012, maibé kreximentu ida ne’e nafatin la sustentável. Ema barak ladún fiar katak Timor-Leste nia situasaun ekonomia iha hela perigu nia laran tanba ita iha biliaun $14 ne’ebé rai hela iha Fundu Petrolíferu.

Ita besik laiha ekonomia doméstiku ida ne’ebé produtivu atu bele absorve osan sira ne’ebé fakar sai ne’e. Agrikultura ne’ebé akumula 80% populasaun tenke sai nudár baze ba kriasaun ekonomia doméstiku. Maibé OGE 2013 sei gasta $144 ba iha Projetu Tasi Mane, maski nune’e sei gastu osan biliaun 10 ka liu se wainhira atu halo hotu. Despeza ba Projetu Tasi Mane tinan ida ne'e inklui Baze Fornesimentu iha Suai, Aeroporto Suai, no Auto-estrada Suai-Beacu.

Ami duvida tebes katak Projetu Tasi Mane sei lori benefisiu ba povu maioria, tanba gastu publiku ba projetu ne’e barak liu duke atu hetan retornu. Ne’e sei fornese númeru servisu uitoan de’it, no ita fó subsídiu boot liu ba kompañia sira husi rai li’ur. Agrikultór sei lakon rai ba prodús ai-han no dependénsia ba importasaun sai boot liu, no mós pobreza sei sai maka’as liu bainhira osan mina hotu ona. Ami hein katak Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu, bele ajuda Governu no sosiedade sivíl, hatudu analiza realistiku ba kustu, benefísiu no viabilidade husi Projetu Tasi Mane antes kontratu obrigatóriu Timor-Leste atu selu atus tokon dolar balun ba konstrusaun, ne’ebé sei bele akontese iha fulan balu.

Aleinde ne’e Projetu Tasi Mane, ohin loron Governu hakarak gastu osan barak tan ba aeroportu Dili, Zona Ekonómiku Esklusivu Oecusse, Portu Tibar, ponte rua Comoro, ne’ebé ita sei duvida hela mós nia benefísiu. International Financial Corporation (IFC) ajuda dezeña portu no aeroportu, bazeia ba asumsaun la realistiku enormemente aumenta importasaun no viajen aereas. Ami preokupa bainhira Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu sira nia “ajudu” ne’e atu halo aat liu malisan rekursu ba Timor-Leste, aloka parsela bot husi rekursu públiku atu benefisia ba ita nia povu minoria de’it.

Tanba ne’e, ami husu ba Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu sira atu bele ko’alia onestu ba ami nia Governu, hodi ajuda desizor polítiku atu kompriende katak mega projetu ne’e la realistiku ameasa justisa ekonómiku no futuru Timor-oan tomak nian. Ajuda ami investe iha rekursu umanu, jestaun di’ak ba polítika fiskál no orienta ba dezenvolvimentu ekuitavel no sustentável. Timor-Leste presiza imi tau prioridade ba programa sira hodi ajuda ami nia povu kiak no vulneravel sira, nafatin fornece ba sira no sira nia gerasaun.

Governu kontinua taka matan ba dezenvolvimentu umanu.

Ohin loron, ema barak mak preokupa kona-ba kualidade rekursu umanus Timor-oan sira nian. Labarik sira la estuda iha eskola, futuru labarik sira permanentemente limitadu- falta nutrisaun ai-han, tuir loloos ema seidauk bele mate maibe tanba sistema saúde labele ajuda sira nia moris. Oinsá ita bele alkansa direitu umanus, ne’ebé Timor-Leste ho kometimentu ratifika Akordu Internasionál kona ba Direitu Ekonómiku, Sosiál, no Kulturál, iha tinan sanulu kotuk?

Problema sira ne’e sei bele redús bainhira iha investimentu ida ne’ebé sériu ba setór servisu sosiál ida ne’e. Maske iha OJE 2013 ne’e hadi’ak liu uitoan iha saúde hanesan atu sosa ekipamentu médiku nian ne’ebé importante, maibé OJE ne’e nafatin aloka de’it 4.2%, menus metade kompara ho norma global.

Setór edukasaun mós nafatin ladún hetan atensaun OJE 2013 aloka de’it 8.4%, maske iha aumenta osan uitoan kompara ho tinan 2012 7.0%. Nasaun sub-dezenvolvidu sira ne’ebé valorija sira nia povu gasta maizumenus 20% hosi sira orsamentu estadu nian ba edukasaun. Nasaun sira iha progresu atinje MDG tanba sira gastu 28% husi gastu estadu ba iha edukasaun no saúde.

Daudauk ne’e, Governu halo hela prosesu konsultasaun atu identifika oinsá Timor-Leste bele atinje Objetivu Dezenvolvimentu Miléniu nian iha setór sira hanesan edukasaun no saúde. Atu atinje padraun sira ne’e, Governu no Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu sira tenke sériu atu investe maka’as no prioritiza setór sira ne’e, atu hadi’ak kualidade servisu no povu bele asesu. Ami fiar katak hadi’ak kualidade povu nia moris no rekursu umanu sai hanesan aliserse fundamental ba nasaun Timor-Leste ninia dezenvolvimentu.

Setór privadu presiza investe futuru nasaun nian.

Timor-Leste presiza duni iha setór privadu ida ne’ebé forte atu bele ajuda dezenvolve nasaun Timor-Leste. Ita nia empreza la-bele depende osan husi estadu nafatin.

Durante ne’e, setór privadu sira iha Timor-Leste haluha atu investe ba setór sira ne’ebé bele fornese kampu traballu ba nia ema sira. Hosi forsa laboral na’in 600,000 iha Timor-Leste ne’e, 70% depende ba setór agrikultór, servisu informal, no menus husi 10% mak servisu iha empreza privadu inklui kontraktor Governu nian. Setór privadu tenke fó prioridade ba agrikultura, ne’ebé bele hamenus kiak no dezenvolve ekonomia.

Ema na’in 58,200 mak servisu iha setór privadu, hosi sira ne’e 75% traballadór sira ne’e mesak mane. Hosi ne’e, ema na’in 18,000 servisu iha empreza konstrusaun. Kompañia na’in sira foti maioria barak liu husi lukru ne’ebé sira hetan, no investe fila fali oituan liu duke atu haboot sira nia empreza no mós Timor-Leste. Liu-liu kompañia ne’ebé baze iha Dili ki’ik liu- maski sira nia lukru sa’e 44%, husi 2010 too 2011 re-investe tun duni ba 38%, valor menus husi 9% husi lukru. Empreza distritu di’ak liu- sira investe husi metade lukru sira, boot liu kompara iha tinan 2010. Ita nia setór privadu tenke hanoin ba futuru sira nian, nune’e mósita nia nasaun nia futuru. [Fonte: RDTL DGE Business Activities Survey 2011.]

Alende, kontraktor lokál no internasionál presiza prodús servisu ho kualidade di’ak. Ita nia Governu no Parseiru Dezenvolvimentu bele servisu ho ita nia setór empreza atu dezenvolve ekuitavel no sustentabilidade Timor-Leste, ho kualidade projetu no kualidade moris, ba tempu naruk, ka lae?

Ohin loron, Timor-Leste iha benefisiáriu barak -- empresariu kontraktor, veteranu, funsionáriu públiku - ne’ebé moris husi rikusoin mina nian no mós generozidade parseiru dezenvolvimentu nian. Sosiedade tomak ita -- sosiedade sivíl, Estadu, setór privadu, parseiru dezenvolvimentu no kada sidadaun -- tenke fokus ba ita nia osan, ita nia rekursu, ita nia tempu no ita nia esforsu atu hadi’ak moris ba kada ema Timor-oan, inklui ita nia oan no bei-oan sira.

Se ita la servisu ho matenek liu maka’as liu ba hadi’ak futuru nian, se tan?