03 December 2010

LH Submission on 2011 Budget to Committee D

On 26 November, La'o Hamutuk was invited by Timor-Leste's National Parliament Committee D (Agriculture, Forests, Natural Resources and Environment) to share perspectives about the proposed General State Budget for 2011. After the hearing, we prepared a 10-page submission for the Committee (also Tetum).

Our submission made these recommendations
  1. Keep spending within sustainable levels, based on prudent projections of future oil prices. The proposed massive budget increases for 2011 and 2012 should be limited, and withdrawals from the Petroleum Fund in future years should not exceed the Estimated Sustainable Income.
  2. Emphasize that expenditures are connected with revenues, and that the current surge in petroleum-related income is only temporary.
  3. Provide additional funding to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and encourage it to implement policies which address the needs of local farmers.
  4. Insist on clear cost information and revenue and employment projections for the full project cycle of the Tasi Mane projects, so that Parliament can decide if they are a reasonable investment of state resources.
  5. Evaluate whether spending large amounts of public funds to prepare for a possible Bea├žu LNG plant is worthwhile, since the company with decision-making power refuses to consider that option.
  6. Prioritize development of a strong non-oil economy, primarily based on agriculture, to replace transient oil revenues and industry.
  7. Reject funding for the PETRONATIL national oil company until it has been established by Parliamentary law with adequate safeguards, accountability and transparency.
  8. Reject funding for the Institute of Petroleum and Geology (IPG) as an autonomous institute, but provide for it within the structure of SERN.
  9. Refuse to establish the Infrastructure Fund until complete and detailed annual cost, employment and schedule information is provided for each project, and until Parliament has approved the National Strategic Development Plan, with necessary organs and laws.
  10. Insist that the budget give priority to education of Timor-Leste citizens in Timor-Leste, rather than sending a few public servants for expensive schooling overseas.
  11. Allow hiring of additional personnel for key ministries like health, education and agriculture, as well as to manage and maintain newly expanded infrastructure. 
More information on the budget, including budget documents, execution reports and analysis, is available at http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/OGE11/10OJE2011.htm.

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