11 November 2011

Budget debate starts in Parliamentary Plenary

On  9 November, Timor-Leste's Parliament began debating the $1.76 billion proposed state budget for 2012, a 35% increase over last year and the fastest-growing budget in the world (except for hyperinflation-plagued Zimbabwe).  The Prime Minister presented the budget, and Parliament's Economics Committee C presented its report  (Portuguese original).

Committee C's in-depth report includes hundreds recommendations from the other Parliamentary Committees. Committee C itself questions the macroeconomic foundations of the budget, its economic policy objectives, its excessive reliance on petroleum revenue, poor management of treasury funds and promotion of Public-Private Partnerships. The Committee asked for more information and studies before contracting public debt, and recommended better monitoring and control of the Petroleum Fund. It urged that the non-oil deficit not grow faster than non-oil GDP and encouraged development of the non-oil economy.  After listing the possible benefits from a massive local housing construction project, the Committee lamented that the Government's plan did "not meet any of the criteria described" and would have no multiplier effect, with negative impacts.  La'o Hamutuk raised many of these concerns in our submission to the Committee a few weeks ago, and we appreciate that the Parliamentarians agree with our analysis.

La'o Hamutuk's budget web page continues to provide comprehensive budget information, documents and analysis from all sources, including the two linked to above. We recently published two articles in local newspapers: Orsamentu Jeral Estadu 2012 ha’belit liu tan Malisan Rekursu ba Timor-Leste and Compania Investimentu Timor-Leste, Investe ka Fakar Osan?

The Ministry of Finance has also opened a web page on the daily budget debate, which is being broadcast live on TVTL. While we welcome the additional transparency, we regret that the Ministry's page includes only material issued by the Government.

1 comment: