21 December 2010

Information keeps coming ... Enjoy the holidays!

As we near the end of 2010, La'o Hamutuk has posted several interesting new documents, which we are sharing with our holiday wishes for all citizens and supporters of Timor-Leste.

On 15 December, we asked Parliament not to approve the new Infrastructure Fund in the 2011 budget  without receiving a list of proposed annual expenditures for multi-year capital projects. The next day, the Ministry of Finance provided a list to Parliament, and we scanned and translated it (also Portuguese) and added it to our web pages on the 2011 state budget. Unfortunately, it raises more questions than it answers.

We asked Parliament to delay approving the Infrastructure Fund until they had debated, amended and enacted the National Strategic Development Plan. Although the plan itself is still under wraps (we published a leaked draft last May), we recently obtained the $3 million contract with PT DSI Makmur Sejahtera for "Strategic Development Plan Consulting Services" which the PM signed in September 2009 and paid last August (invoice). We added this contract to our web page on the Plan, as well as the contract's Terms of Reference and job descriptions for Key Personnel.

Finally, our recent exposure of the huge delays and cost overruns of the heavy oil power plants and national electricity grid provoked public interest and official dishonesty, as described on our just-updated web page.  We just posted the next monthly report from the supervising consultant. It shows that the project fell further behind in October, when only 11 towers were erected. At that rate, it will take until 2027 to finish. The consultant is alarmed by poor quality work and slow performance by Chinese Nuclear Industry Company No 22 (CNI22).  Although the Government ordered CNI22 to subcontract the construction of the Hera and Betano power plants to Puri Akraya Engineering (the contract was signed on 15 September, increasing the project cost by $250 million), Puri Akraya hadn't started work by the end of October, while they waited for advance payment.

The revised payment schedule obliges Timor-Leste to pay CNI22 and PAE $380 million in 2011 alone, a figure which will increase more when the transmission lines are subcontracted and "additional works not originally foreseen in the contract such as the Jetty to unload and pump the Heavy Fuel Oil to the tanks and all administrative buildings" are included.  However, the budget the Government submitted last month appropriates only $166 million during 2011. Nevertheless, the Government paid CNI22 on schedule throughout 2010, even as the work lags further and further behind.

Boas Festa Natal no Haksolok Tinan Foun!

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