23 December 2014

Sadly, TL government blocks IMF Report

Timor-Leste’s Government has prevented the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from publishing its 2014 “Article IV Consultation” report on Timor-Leste. Because of irresolvable disagreement over the report’s content, the Government decided not to allow the release of the report this year.  La’o Hamutuk is saddened by this decision, as we believe that information from a variety of viewpoints is essential to developing sustainable, equitable economic and fiscal policies.

These reports, around 55-70 pages, usually contain a Staff Report, an Informational Annex and a Debt Sustainability Analysis. Many governments request changes to draft reports, and the IMF often incorporates them, as well as “Authorities’ views” setting our the government’s perspective. However, the IMF will not publish a report or press release about an Article IV Consultation without the Government’s consent. In 2013, 99% of countries agreed to publish a press release, and around 90%, including Timor-Leste, agreed to publish the detailed report.

IMF Article IV reports on Timor-Leste were published for 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003, and 2014 was the first time the government did not consent.

La’o Hamutuk does not always agree with the IMF, particularly regarding economic justice, borrowing and the role of the private sector. However, these reports are an important contribution toward understanding Timor-Leste’s economy, and we are disappointed that the public, including ourselves, have not been able to read the latest one.

The information in the IMF's October press release which summarizes the suppressed report needs deeper elaboration and thought. It mentions dependency on declining oil reserves, excessive government spending, slow private sector growth, more thought needed for special economic zones, the shortage of good data and other issues.

Read more at http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/IMF/14TLblocksIMF.htm.