The 2011 Budget Execution Report (left) from the Ministry of Finance's National Treasury Directorate shows that the State alone spent $68 million for vehicle and generator fuel. Since all of this was imported, it seems odd that Timor-Leste’s government is paying much more than the declared value of what is coming into the country.
If we estimate the amount of generator and vehicle fuel used by personal and private sector consumers, the total amount paid for fuel in Timor-Leste last year may have been about $78 million, nearly double what DNE says was imported.
La'o Hamutuk asked the Director of DNE about this at the launch of the Trade Report last week, and he smiled and said he knows only about the import information the Customs Department provides to DNE. La’o Hamutuk is asking the Anti-Corruption Commissioner and the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice to explore whether corruption or maladministration has occurred.
We can imagine several explanations:
- Fuel importers are charging the State a very high markup on the fuel they import, making a large profit.
- A significant amount of fuel comes into Timor-Leste without passing through Customs.
- The State is getting less fuel than it pays for.
- The numbers published in one or both of these reports are wrong.
|Here are the details, in thousands of U.S. dollars|
La'o Hamutuk believes that the apparent contradiction between State purchases and fuel imports demonstrates that published reports about the economy and state spending are useful and are not difficult to analyze. We appreciate that the Ministry of Finance has made this data available, and we encourage others to also use it. There's a lot to learn!
In late October, Timor-Leste decided to award a $50.4 million contract to Esperanca Timor Oan to import and supply 47 million liters of diesel fuel for the Hera power plant. Click for more information. The Government will pay $1.07 per liter, at least 16¢ more than it should cost to buy this fuel in Singapore or Indonesia, ship it to Tibar, and pay Timor-Leste excise tax and import duty.