Auditorium, UNTL Liceu campus, Kaikoli, Dili
The Tasi Mane Project – the Suai Supply Base, Betano Refinery, Beaçu LNG Plant and South Coast Highway – is discussed in the national Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030. However, La’o Hamutuk has serious concerns about the economic feasibility of this project, as well its current and future environmental and social impacts. We have discussed this issue with people in Government, civil society and international agencies, and many of them share our concerns.
Timor-Leste is falling into the ‘resource curse’ – where states who depend on extracting non-renewable resources neglect sustainable alternative economic sectors because decision-makers believe that oil will last forever. They also fail to improve their people’s well-being by under-investing in public health, education and other essential services. As our oil deposits run out, more and more people inside and outside Government recognize that we must escape from petroleum dependency by diversifying the economy.
We need to consider carefully whether the Tasi Mane petroleum infrastructure project moves us in this direction – it will cost billions to implement, a significant fraction of Timor-Leste’s finite oil and gas wealth. This takes money away from health care, education, sanitation and agriculture, all of which are essential for improving quality of life, strengthening human resources and growing the non-oil economy. Also, these projects will take up valuable agricultural land, reducing productivity and continuing dependency on imports.
The following paragraph was revised after the meeting.
This public meeting began with presentations by Francisco Monteiro, President of TimorGAP and Juvinal Dias of La’o Hamutuk, followed by two hours of lively discussion among the 150 participants. They heard TimorGAP’s plans and dreams, as well as La’o Hamutuk's skeptical perspective (PowerPoint or PDF).