29 January 2013

LH konvite media lokal atu mai briefing OJE

Konvite ba briefing/diskusaun kona-ba OJE 2013 ba jornalista sira

Atu apoiu jornalista atu analiza no hatene liu tan informasaun kona-ba proposta Orsamentu Jerál Estadu 2013, La’o Hamutuk hakarak konvida ita-boot sira husi Media ne’ebé interese atu komprende orsamentu iha Timor-Leste atu bele mai tuir briefing no diskusaun kona-ba OJE 2013 ne’ebé sei realiza iha

Data    : Sesta Feira, 1 Fevreiru 2013
Horas :  14.00 too 16.45
Fatin   : La’o Hamutuk, Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili

Ita boot bele hetan dokumentu sira no ami nia komentáriu kona-ba OJE 2013  no aprezentasaun ba briefing husi ami nia website.
Bele konfirma ita-boot sira nia partisipasaun ba +670 7734-8703 ka juvinal@laohamutuk.org

27 January 2013

TL budget process still lacks openness

Timor-Leste's Parliament is discussing the State Budget for 2013, and their plenary debate will be broadcast live next week.  La'o Hamutuk web-published the main budget documents, and local media report politicians' comments every day.  We have also posted our testimony (also Tetum) and briefing (also Tetum).

But how much do people know, how open is the process, and how can citizens be involved more effectively?

The International Budget Partnership conducts an Open Budget Survey every two years, calculating an Open Budget Index for about 100 countries. The 2012 survey was released a few days ago, and Timor-Leste scored 36 out of a possible 100. This is slightly better than our score of 34 two years ago, but is still "minimal," far below average. (Global Open Budget report)

Although Timor-Leste has been a global leader in transparency on petroleum revenues, our budget process should be much better. We scored poorly because little information is available before the Council of Ministers approves the proposed budget, because a "Citizens Budget" in understandable language is not published while the budget is being debated, and because mid-year reviews, year-end reports, and audit reports are not published or are published too late.

We agree with the recommendations by the International Budget Partnership (see their report on Timor-Leste, also in Portuguese). These include publishing the documents listed above, providing more comprehensive and better-classified data on past expenditures and future forecasts, showing how the budget interacts with policy proposals, publishing program-level budget details and conducting a public pre-budget policy debate. We are also disappointed that the Government did not respond to the draft Open Budget Survey questionnaire, so that their views would be included. The complete Timor-Leste questionnaire, with answers and peer reviewer comments, is published here.

In addition to the recommendations in the Open Budget Survey, La'o Hamutuk suggests that the General State Budget should include revenues and expenditures by all state entities, including the TimorGAP national oil company, the National Petroleum Authority, the Central Bank and others. We also encourage Government to make an effort to estimate future outlays, rather than applying a blanket 4% annual increase to every line in the Consolidated Fund budget. Most of the largest expenditures -- salaries, generator fuel, veterans' pensions, infrastructure packages, minor capital purchases -- could be projected more accurately. Together with total anticipated cost information for major projects, this would enable Ministers, Parliamentarians and the public to evaluate the future implications of large programs, which is essential as we export our limited non-renewable gas and oil wealth.

22 January 2013

Konvite ba briefing/diskusaun kona-ba OJE 2013

Atu aumenta kapasidade analiza no hatene liu tan informasaun kona-ba proposta Orsamentu Jerál Estadu 2013, La’o Hamutuk hakarak konvida sosiedade sivíl ne’ebé interese ba analiza orsamentál nian atu bele mai tuir briefing no diskusaun kona-ba OJE 2013  ne’e sei realiza iha:

Loron Sesta Feira, 25 Janeiru 2013
Tuku 10.00 too 12.30 ka tan
Iha: La’o Hamutuk, Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili

Ita boot bele hetan dokumentu sira no ami nia komentariu kona-ba OJE 2013 iha http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/OGE13/12OGE13.htm.

Download aprezentasaun husi briefing ida ne'e hanesan PowerPoint ka PDF.
Download English translation of the briefing as a PowerPoint or PDF.

18 January 2013

LH advice on 2013 state budget

This week, La'o Hamutuk testified before two Committees of the Timor-Leste National Parliament about the proposed General State Budget for 2013.  We praised some good aspects, and identified other elements which need improvement.

You can download our written submission in English or Tetum.  It covers the following topics:
  • We appreciate the slower rate of escalation in the total budget.
  • Declining oil revenues should inform budget planning.
  • Double-digit economic growth, amidst inflation, does not benefit most people.
  • Parliament needs total cost information for the Tasi Mane oil infrastructure project and other multi-year projects.
  • Non-renewable electricity gets more and more costly.
  • The Contingency Fund should be smaller.
  • Important information is missing or confusing in the budget documents.
  • Veterans’ pensions: how much in future decades?
  • Parliament should analyze the risks of public borrowing.
  • The MDG-Suco housing program perpetuates past mistakes.
  • Government continues to neglect human resources.
  • Other legislation also requires attention.
We also wrote a short paper on energy policy, in Tetum.  More information, documents and analysis are on our frequently updated budget web page.

02 January 2013

2013 Budget Documents available

As we begin a new year, La'o Hamutuk is making the 2013 budget books prepared by the Ministry of Finance available on our website with  summary information and preliminary analysis.

Update 21 January: La'o Hamutuk testified before two committees of the RDTL National Parliament last week. Download our submission in Tetum or English.

The total budget will be $1.8 billion, about the same as in 2012. About one-fourth of it will be financed with unspent money in the Infrastructure and Human Capital Development Funds, reducing the anticipated withdrawal from the Petroleum Fund in 2013 to $1.2 billion. This is 4.6% of Timor-Leste's anticipated petroleum wealth less unsustainable than the $1.5 billion the Government withdrew from the Petroleum Fund during 2012.

Although capital expenditure will be less than in 2012, recurrent expenditure will increase by 20%.  For more information and analysis, see La'o Hamutuk's web page on the 2013 budget.  We have also  published the final Budget Book for the October 2012 mid-year rectification.