28 November 2017

TL is borrowing more - will we be able to repay?

In order to continue high infrastructure spending while appearing to reduce withdrawals from the Petroleum Fund, the Timor-Leste Government has signed several loan agreements with multilateral agencies and foreign governments. Although Timor-Leste’s current debt is relatively small, the Government’s borrowing plans have accelerated in recent years; the 2017 State Budget projects spending nearly $1.2 billion in borrowed money between 2017 and 2021.

La’o Hamutuk agrees that Timor-Leste needs better infrastructure, and loans are one mechanism which governments can use to finance infrastructure or other socially or economically beneficial projects. However, we see that the Government is instead planning to borrow to supplement unsustainable, unviable projects, whose total costs are so high that it would be impossible to justify paying for them only with money from the Petroleum Fund. At the same time, the availability of loans is allowing politicians to avoid making the difficult but necessary choices about how to bring government expenditures down to sustainable levels.

As Timor-Leste’s petroleum revenues will soon end, the Petroleum Fund’s sustainability is in doubt, and the non-oil, non-state economy has barely improved since independence, La’o Hamutuk fears that taking on hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in debt will put a heavy, unfair burden on future generations and could result in Timor-Leste being unable to pay its debts, which would have severe consequences for our people and economy. Therefore, this article describes Timor-Leste’s current and future borrowing, explains La’o Hamutuk’s concerns about the current policy and suggest how Timor-Leste can avoid falling into unsustainable debt. We hope that it will increase public understanding of this important issue and help Timor-Leste’s policy makers to critically review their borrowing plans.

History of borrowing by Timor-Leste

In 2009, the Government passed laws paving the way to borrow from foreign institutions, and it began to sign loan contracts in 2012. It has since agreed to borrow money for seven projects, six of which are road upgrades, the other being a drainage project in Dili. Some projects only use a single loan, while others involve multiple loans. As of November 2017, Timor-Leste has signed loan contracts totalling about $400 million, which is scheduled to be borrowed from creditors over the next five years, with repayments continuing until the mid-2040s.

The loan-financed projects are currently in various stages: some have already been completed, while others have faced long delays and have only just begun or are stalled. Out of the total amount contracted, Timor-Leste has already received and spent about $97 million, and much more will be disbursed by lenders in the coming year as more projects begin construction phase.

Justifications for borrowing

The main justification given for borrowing is that Timor-Leste needs to build infrastructure, but it has limited financial resources to do so. Therefore, rather than continuing to withdraw too much from the Petroleum Fund (PF) and reducing its sustainability, loan proponents in the Government and lender agencies argue that borrowing can reduce these withdrawals while allowing the necessary infrastructure spending to continue.

However, the Government is not reducing its withdrawals from the PF as it borrows more; rather, it is planning to continue withdrawing unsustainable amounts from the PF every year. Indeed, the 2017 State Budget projects to withdraw almost four times the Estimated Sustainable Income from 2018 until 2021; this will reduce the PF balance by almost a quarter by the end of 2021, from today’s $16.8 billion to $12.8 billion. It could fall even further if PF investments do not earn the expected returns (returns were negative in 2015 and 26% lower than projected in 2016), or if domestic revenues do not increase as quickly as the Government hopes. La’o Hamutuk estimates that without major changes to the Government’s current course, the PF could be entirely depleted by 2028.

The Government and lender agencies also argue that concessional loans are ‘cheaper’ than withdrawing the same amount from the Petroleum Fund, as they say that the interest rates on the loans are less than the returns on PF investments that would be lost by withdrawing the same amount from the PF. However, while the PF’s average return so far has been greater than the interest on concessional loans, these earnings will dwindle as the PF’s balance falls, eventually reaching zero when the Fund is empty. However, Timor-Leste will still have to pay back the loans, with interest, regardless of how long the PF lasts, which will place extraordinary stress on an already tight budget.

La’o Hamutuk is also concerned that the Government could be tempted to take out commercial loans (which come with much higher interest rates) for some of its largest planned projects, as most of Timor-Leste’s current creditors are unwilling to lend for them. Creditor agencies like the World Bank and ADB say that they carefully evaluate each project before lending; however, less scrupulous lenders could see Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth as a guarantee that it will repay its debts, regardless of whether the loan-funded projects are beneficial or whether repayments will negatively impact the people’s well-being.

Loan proponents also contend that Timor-Leste can access technical assistance (TA) by borrowing from international agencies, which helps to improve the quality of project implementation. However, Timor-Leste does not need to borrow money to access TA – either we can hire experts directly, or donors may provide it for free or below cost. Timor-Leste pays for TA when it comes with a loan – the cost of the assistance is added to the balance of the loan, which we will have to repay with interest. Some have also said that borrowing is a way of ensuring that projects are implemented well, as the creditor agencies bring technical experience and oversight. However, using loans as a way to bypass poor project management is not a sustainable solution – the Government needs to improve its own processes, rather than taking loans to avoid having to do so.

In addition, as Timorese firms still lack the capacity to implement major construction contracts, most of the borrowed money will go directly to foreign companies. If the Government paid for the projects directly, it could require joint ventures between local and foreign companies. This would build the capacity of local companies, while also bringing more benefits to Timorese workers and the local economy.

Largest planned loans are for unviable, unsustainable megaprojects

The Government has also justified its borrowing on the grounds that loan-funded projects have high social and economic returns that outweigh their costs. Timor-Leste’s currently-signed loan agreements are for road upgrades and a drainage project in Dili, and these projects will have some social and economic benefits by improving transportation, safety and quality of life. However, out of $1.3 billion ($1.2 billion projected in the 2017 State Budget plus $85 million in new loans signed in 2017) to be spent from planned new loan agreements over the next five years, more than $900 million is for just three projects: the expansion of Dili airport, and two components of the Tasi Mane petroleum infrastructure project – the south coast highway and the Suai Supply Base.

For years, La’o Hamutuk and many others have argued that these projects – especially Tasi Mane – will waste Timor-Leste’s people’s money, while bringing financial, social and environmental costs that far outweigh their potential benefits. Even if Sunrise gas eventually comes to Timor-Leste, Tasi Mane’s economic feasibility is doubtful; La’o Hamutuk fears that if the Government decides to use public money to subsidize the project, a large portion of Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth will be squandered. Meanwhile, the project would take over large areas of agricultural land, thousands would lose their homes and livelihoods, and Timor-Leste would be at great risk of environmental damage and pollution. Borrowing to pay for these projects does not make them viable; it merely allows politicians to build these unrealistic dreams without paying for them -- burdening future generations with heavy debts.

How much will Timor-Leste have to pay back?

The State Budget documents lack meaningful information on expected loan repayments, so La’o Hamutuk has estimated how much Timor-Leste will have to pay back if it follows the plans described in the 2017 State Budget. However, due to fluctuating interest and exchange rates, and the fact that the Government declines to make some repayment obligations public, it is difficult to know exactly how much Timor-Leste will have to repay.

Our analysis shows that even if Timor-Leste signs no additional loan agreements after 2017, it will have to pay back an average of $24 million per year between 2022 and 2036. If no other oil and gas fields come online, the Petroleum Fund runs out in the mid-2020s, and domestic revenues increase by 9% per year starting in 2018 (this is optimistic, especially as many 'domestic revenues' are fees the Government pays to itself, which will decline when oil money runs out and the Government is forced to reduce spending), the State’s total annual income will average about $420 million per year throughout the 2020s. This means that around 6% of Timor-Leste’s revenues will be diverted to repay loans.

If the Government carries out all of the plans in the 2017 Budget and borrows a further $1.3 billion between 2017 and 2021, Timor-Leste will have to repay this – plus around $400 million in interest – over three decades. The country will spend an average of $100 million per year on debt service from 2026-2037 –almost a quarter of all revenues. (There is no guarantee that Sunrise will be producing revenues for Timor-Leste by this time, or ever, so it is not considered in this analysis.)

This will leave around $320 million per year – plus whatever remains of the PF – to pay for everything else in Timor-Leste’s State Budget. To put this in perspective, recurrent expenditures alone during 2016 was $857 million. If the proposed tax reform doesn’t meet its targets, there will be even less money available. Moreover, recurrent spending will be even higher ten years into the future, as Timor-Leste will have more, older infrastructure to maintain, people will expect better-quality services, and the population will have increased by about 20%.

What happens if Timor-Leste cannot pay?

If Timor-Leste’s policy makers fail to heed the warnings of La’o Hamutuk, the World Bank/IMF and others about unsustainable spending and the risk posed by excessive borrowing, the country might borrow more money than it can repay. If this happens, it is highly likely that Timor-Leste will have to surrender some of its hard-won sovereignty to outside agencies in order to be have its debts "restructured" or reduced.

In the past, creditor agencies (especially the IMF) imposed Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) on indebted countries which aimed to enable governments to pay their debts by reducing public expenditures and generating short-term income. SAPs required countries to liberalize domestic markets, sell off public assets to private investors (often at discount rates), cut public sector wages and employment, increase fees for public services and reduce spending on education, health care, social welfare and government subsidies. SAPs were heavily criticized by many activists, NGOs, governments and economists due to their negative impacts on the poorest people and countries, as cash-strapped governments were forced to continually divert their limited funds to paying creditors rather than investing in essential services, poverty reduction and economic development.

Due to the failures of SAPs and their negative impacts, they were replaced by Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in the late 1990s. A PRSP is a plan that the Timor-Leste Government would develop – under the “guidance” of creditors – to change monetary and fiscal policies in order to qualify for debt relief or restructuring. PRSPs are supposed to be better than SAPs, as they are ostensibly owned by governments themselves, rather than imposed by creditors, and they are supposed to involve civil society participation and promote poverty reduction through “inclusive” economic growth.

However, critics argue that PRSPs are simply SAPs under a different name but with nearly the same effect, as acceptance of the PRSP by creditors (and subsequent debt relief) require governments to implement “free market” reforms in an effort to stimulate economic growth and reduce the size of government. PRSPs therefore result in many of the same policies as were imposed in SAPs, such as: privatization of public assets; cuts to subsidies and public spending; and liberalization/deregulation of local markets. In addition, civil society participation in the process has often been tokenistic, with a few meetings with government officials being considered sufficiently participatory by creditor agencies.


Timor-Leste’s oil revenues will effectively end next year, and non-oil domestic revenues are not increasing fast enough to replace the money from oil and gas. Regardless of whether the Government takes more loans, Timor-Leste may soon face huge spending cuts in wages, social services and infrastructure. The austerity will hit much harder if we have failed to make meaningful progress in improving basic services and the non-oil economy.

If Timor-Leste has borrowed hundreds of millions or billions of dollars for projects that fail to generate returns, paying back creditors will divert even more funds from essential areas, impacting our most vulnerable people. If we have failed to develop alternative sources of revenues and our debts are more than we can pay, default will result in loss of sovereignty, even harsher austerity and a long, difficult struggle to escape from the cycle of debt.

To avoid this result, La’o Hamutuk urges Timor-Leste’s policy makers in the Government and Parliament to demand that major projects undergo full, objective cost-benefit analyses, and postpone any plans to borrow for these projects until a comprehensive analysis regarding the State’s ability to repay the loans is done and made public. This may not be enough to prevent the PF from being depleted, but it will extend its life, while freeing up resources for the Government to be able to focus on the difficult but essential task of improving the well-being of our people and developing a sustainable, diverse economy that benefits all of Timor-Leste’s people.

This blog article is excerpted from a paper by Niall Almond which will be edited and published in the forthcoming proceedings of the 2017 Conference of the Timor-Leste Studies Association.

09 November 2017

Public discussion on Timor-Leste's debt / Enkontru kona-ba Deve Publiku

[English follows below]
Liu dékada ida ona, La’o Hamutuk halo peskiza no analiza kona-ba Timor-Leste nia deve públiku no Governu nia polítika empréstimu, no Governu asina tiha ona kontratu empréstimu lubuk ida ho ajénsia internasionál sira. Tanba Timor-Leste nia reseitas husi mina no gas besik hotu ona, no Estadu seidauk iha fonte seluk ne’ebé bele substitui mina, importante ba povu atu bele komprende kona-ba Governu nia polítika no planu atu jere deve públiku iha futuru.

Tanba ne’e, ami hakarak konvida ita boot mai enkontru públiku ida atu aprende hamutuk kona-ba rezultadu peskiza ne’ebé La’o Hamutuk halo kona-ba asuntu importante ida ne’e, no mós atu rona perspetiva Ministériu Finansas nian kona-ba jestaun deve públiku no polítika empréstimu.

Enkontru públiku ida ne’e sei realiza iha:
Data               : Tersa-feira, 14 Novembru 2017
Oras               : 08:45 – 12:00
Fatin              : Salaun Enkontru, Asosiasaun-HAK, Farol, Dili
Oradór sira     : Niall Almond, Peskizadór La’o Hamutuk
                        Epifenio Martins, Ministeriu Planu no Finansas

Gratuitu no loke ba ema hotu.
Bele hetan Niall nia aprezentasaun husi iha ne'e (mós PowerPoint).

La'o Hamutuk will hold a free, open public meeting to discuss Timor-Leste’s public debt management and loans policy. The Government has signed several loan contracts with international agencies.  However, Timor-Leste’s oil and gas revenues will soon run out, and the State does not yet have alternative sources of revenues to replace oil, so we would like to help people understand the Government’s policy for managing public debt.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017      8:45 am – noon
Meeting room, HAK Association, Farol, Dili
Speakers: Niall Almond, La'o Hamutuk researcher
                Epifenio Martins, Ministry of Planning and Finance

The discussion was in Tetum, but we translated Niall's presentation into English (also PowerPoint). Our web page has more information about debt.

04 September 2017

Copenhagen Agreement: Permanent Boundary or CMATS redux?

Between 28 August and 1 September 2017, another round of maritime boundary negotiations between Timor-Leste and Australia took place with the Conciliation Commission, this time in Copenhagen. This Conciliation Commission was established in June 2016 after Timor-Leste gave formal notice to Australia in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in April 2016.

Although these meetings in Copenhagen and elsewhere remain confidential, the Permanent Court of Arbitration shared information about the process in a 1 September press release announcing that the two nations have reached agreement about the central elements of delimiting their maritime boundary in the Timor Sea.

This agreement package not only discusses maritime boundaries, but also “addresses the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field, the establishment of a Special Regime for Greater Sunrise, a pathway to the development of the resource, and the sharing of the resulting revenue.” To explain, the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field changed after Australia and Timor-Leste, together with the Conciliation Commission, issued a Joint Statement on 9 January 2017 to terminate the CMATS Treaty (Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea). This week’s press release also says that the two delegations will meet again privately with the Conciliation Commission to finalize this agreement by October 2017.

Although no details are available about what the two parties have agreed on, some people, including state officials, politicians and diplomats, have begun celebrating its result as a victory for Timor-Leste, which is dominating social media in Timor-Leste. Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste (RTTL) invited La’o Hamutuk, as a non-governmental organization that has long followed the process of defining maritime boundaries, to participate in their program 7 Minuto in the Saturday evening news to give our point of view on the results of the recent Copenhagen meeting.

Although La’o Hamutuk appreciates the efforts of the two nations to take a new step in talking about their maritime boundary dispute, we think it is too early to consider this agreement a victory that reaffirms Timor-Leste’s sovereignty. We don’t yet know the details of what they have agreed, and whether or not it follows the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) principle of the Median Line, which is the goal of the Timor-Leste people’s struggle.

La’o Hamutuk considers this celebration like the ‘celebration’ in 2005, when Timor-Leste and Australia agreed on the CMATS Treaty. On 9 December 2005, the Government put out a press release to celebrate that agreement, declaring that ‘This is a good agreement for Timor-Leste but it is also a good agreement for Australia’ which ‘also opens the way for the construction of a pipeline between Greater Sunrise and Timor-Leste and for the installation of a refining facility that will be the starting of petroleum activities on Timorese soil.’

Sadly, although the celebration had begun, in the end that ‘agreement’ was not considered a victory for Timor-Leste. This is because the CMATS Treaty blocked Timor-Leste from speaking about its sovereign rights while Greater Sunrise was in production, and continued to recognize Australia’s rights to sea areas which properly belong to Timor-Leste under principles of international law. Eventually, Timor-Leste decided to terminate the CMATS Treaty last January. In 2004, La’o Hamutuk had suggested to leave Greater Sunrise for the next generation, to be developed after the two nations had established a permanent maritime boundary.

Coming back to the new Copenhagen agreement – Although the substance of the agreement remains confidential, we hope that Timor-Leste chose to achieve its full sovereign rights, and not to repeat past errors which gave Australia permission to take our money and occupy Timor-Leste’s territory. It’s no secret that Timor-Leste has always abandoned its commitment to a permanent maritime boundary when it comes to the negotiating table.

When the Timor Sea Treaty was signed in 2002, Timor-Leste had to surrender 10% of the petroleum revenues from the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) to Australia because the new nation needed income rapidly to rebuild while emerging from the massive destruction by the Indonesian military and their militias after the 1999 referendum. And in 2005, Timor-Leste surrendered its chance to speak out when the Government prioritized getting 50% of Sunrise revenues. Today, Timor-Leste’s financial situation is different from 15 years ago, but what will happen next month? Will Timor-Leste and Australia have a permanent maritime boundary, or will they make a new arrangement to replace the terminated CMATS Treaty?

There are two roads open to these two nations, depending on what proposals are brought to the negotiating table. The better road would be for the two countries to establish a permanent and fair maritime boundary. Australia must come to the negotiating table with good faith – that they will use UNCLOS as the basis for defining the maritime boundary. Australia is politically and economically powerful in this region, and it is easy for them to impose their interests in bilateral negotiations, rather than accepting those of their negotiating counterpart.

In addition to good faith from Australia, Timor-Leste also should have a strong position for the long term. Timor-Leste has already spent money and plans to spend a lot more for the Tasi Mane Project on its south coast, and wants to bring the Sunrise gas pipeline to that coast. But Timor-Leste should reduce its obsession with developing oil fields in the Timor Sea, and not include it in the package of proposals for the negotiation.

If Timor-Leste includes the status of the Greater Sunrise field in the negotiations, even if the share of revenues to Timor-Leste is more than the 50-50 share under CMATS, this continues to give Australia space to maintain its occupation of Timor-Leste’s territory while Sunrise is in production. La’o Hamutuk believes that if the new agreement really follows the UNCLOS median line principle, Dili alone may be able to decide about Greater Sunrise development, without consulting with Canberra.

However, if Timor-Leste only wins the Sunrise pipeline and a larger share of revenues relative to Australia, but we do not get a permanent maritime boundary according to UNCLOS, the result of these negotiations can be considered as only an effort to revoke the CMATS treaty, rather than a victory in the struggle for sovereignty.

Konkordánsia Copenhagen: Fronteira Permanente ka Neo-CMATS?

Hosi 28 Agostu to 1 Setembru 2017, delegasaun ba negosiasaun disputa fronteira maritima nian hosi Timor-Leste ho Australia hasoru malu tan ho Komisaun Konsiliasaun nian iha Copenhagen. Komisaun Konsiliasaun ida ne’e estabelese dezde Juñu 2016 hafoin Timor-Leste hatama notifikasaun formal kontra Australia ba iha Tribunal Permanente de Arbitragem iha Abril 2016.

Maske enkontru sira iha Copenhagen no fatin seluk sira ne’e kontinua konfidensiál, maibé Tribunal Permanente de Arbitragem ajuda públiku sira atu akompaña prosesu sira liu hosi fó sai komunikadu imprensa ida iha loron 1 Setembru 2017, katak nasaun rua ne’e iha ona akordu ida kona-ba elementu sentrál sira ba delimitasaun fronteira maritima nian entre nasaun rua ne’e nian iha Tasi Timor.

Pakote konkordánsia ida ne’e aléinde ko’alia kona-ba fronteira maritima, inklui mós aprosimasaun ba estatutu legal foun ba kampu gas Greater Sunrise nian, nudár dalan atu dezenvolve rekursu no atu fahe reseita hosi kampu gas ida ne’e. Atu aumenta, kampu gas Greater Sunrise ida ne’e nia estatutu legal muda tiha ona hafoin Australia no Timor-Leste hamutuk ho Komisaun Konsiliasaun nian fó sai Deklarasaun Trilateral Konjunta ida hodi termina Tratadu CMATS (Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea/Tratadu ba Aranjamentu Balu iha Tasi Timor) iha loron 9 Janeiru 2017. Komunikadu ida ne’e mós hateten katak delegasaun rai rua ne’e sei iha tan pasu tuir mai hodi ba hasoru malu ho Komisaun Konsiliasaun iha Outubru 2017 nian ne’ebé sei hala’o ho konfidensiál tan atu finaliza konkordánsia sira ne’ebé foti ona.

Maske laiha detallu kona-ba opsaun saida de’it mak konkorda ona hosi parte rua ne’e, maibé ema balu, inklui ofisiais estadu, polítiku, diplomata lansa tiha rezultadu ida ne’e nudár vitória ba Timor-Leste atu selebra, no konsege domina tiha media sosiál sira iha Timor-Leste. Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste (RTTL), konvida La’o Hamutuk, nudár organizasaun naun governmental ida ne’ebé sempre tuir prosesu delimitasaun fronteira maritima nian atu prienxe sira nia programa 7 Minuto iha Telejornal kalan iha Sábadu atu bele fó pontu de vista kona-ba rezultadu hosi enkontru iha Copenhagen foin lalais ne’e.

Maske La’o Hamutuk apresia ba esforsu hosi rai rua ne’e hodi hakat ba pasu foun ida tan atu ko’alia disputa fronteira maritima entre rai rua ne’e, maibé ami hare katak sedu liu atu konsidera konkordánsia sira ne’e nudár vitória ba reafirmasaun soberania Timor-Leste nian bainhira opsaun sira ne’ebé sira konkorda malu iha Copenhagen ne’e ita seidauk hatene detallu no karik la tuir prinsipiu Liña Klaran tuir UNCLOS, prinsipiu ida ne’ebé sai nudár objetivu luta povu Timor-Leste nian.

La’o Hamutuk hare selebrasaun ida ne’e atu hanesan ho “selebrasaun” iha tinan 2005, bainhira Timor-Leste ho Australia iha konkordánsia ba Tratadu CMATS. Iha 9 Dezembru 2005, Governu anunsia sai komunikadu imprensa ida hodi selebra konkordánsia. Iha momentu ne’ebá, Governu deklara katak “Ne’e akordu di’ak ida ba Timor-Leste maibé mós di’ak ba Australia” ne’ebé “mós loke dalan ba konstrusaun kadoras entre Greater Sunrise no Timor-Leste no ba instalasaun fasilidade refinaria ida ne’ebé sei sai hun ba atividade petróleu iha Timor oan sira nia rai leten.”

Infelizmente, maske selebra ona antes, maibé ikus mai “konkordánsia” ida ne’e labele konsidera nudár vitória ida ba Timor-Leste. Tanba Tratadu CMATS refere taka oportunidade ba Timor-Leste atu ko’alia nia direitu soberania durante periodu produsaun gas Greater Sunrise nian, no mós kontinua rekoñese direitu Australia nian ba area tasi ne’ebé loloos pertense ba Timor-Leste tuir prinsipiu no direitu internasionál. No Timor-Leste rasik deside atu termina tratadu ida ne’e rasik iha Janeiru tinan ida ne’e. Iha tinan 2004, La’o Hamutuk husu atu husik de’it Greater Sunrise ba jerasaun foun sira, no bele dezenvolve bainhira iha ona fronteira maritima ida ne’ebé permanente entre rai rua.

Fila fali ba konkordánsia iha Copenhagen. Maske opsaun loloos sira ne’ebé konkorda ona kontinua konfidensiál, ami espera katak Timor-Leste hili ona opsaun ida atu hetan nia direitu soberania total,  ne’ebé sei labele repete tan fallansu sira iha pasadu ne’ebé fó de’it vantajen boot liu ba Australia atu hetan osan no okupa territóriu Timor-Leste nian. La’ós ona segredu katak Timor-Leste sempre lakon vantajen atu hetan nia fronteira maritima ida ne’ebé permanente bainhira asuntu petrolíferu tama ona iha meja negosiasaun nian.

Esperiénsia iha 2002, bainhira asina Tratadu Tasi Timor, Timor-Leste tenke rekoñese direitu 10% Australia nian hosi reseita petrolíferu hosi Area Konjunta ba Dezenvolvimentu Petróleu (JPDA) tanba nasaun foun ne’e presiza hela osan lalais atu konstrui nasaun ne’e hafoin sai hosi estragu masivu sira ne’ebé militár Indonézia no nia milisia sira halo hafoin referendum 1999. No iha 2005, Timor-Leste tenke lakon tan nia oportunidade atu ko’alia nia direitu bainhira Governu prefere simu 50% reseita hosi gas kampu Greater Sunrise nian. Ohin, situasaun finanseiru Timor-Leste diferente ona kompara ho tinan 15 liu ba, maibé saida mak atu kontinua mosu tuir mai iha Outubru 2017? Timor-Leste ho Australia sei iha Fronteira Maritima Permanente ka konkorda atu iha aranjamentu foun hodi troka tratadu CMATS ne’ebé termina ona?

Dalan rua ne’e nakloke ba rai rua ne’e, maibé ne’e depende ba opsaun ne’ebé lori ba iha meja negosiasaun. Dalan di’ak ida ne’ebé rai rua ne’e bele foti atu hatuur fronteira maritima ida ne’ebé permanente no justu mak Australia rasik tenke mai ho nia boa fe hodi negosia ho Timor-Leste iha meja. Boa fe katak Australia tenke uza UNCLOS nudár baze ba delimitasaun ba fronteira maritima. Nudár nasaun ida ne’ebé iha podér polítiku no ekonomia iha rejiaun ida ne’e, fasil ba Australia atu domina rezultadu negosiasaun bilateral nian ba sira nia interese duke ba nasaun opozitor nian.

Aleinde boa fe hosi Australia, Timor-Leste rasik mós tenke iha opsaun ida ne’ebé forte no dura ba tempu naruk. Maske durante ne’e Timor-Leste gasta ona, no iha planu atu gasta barak liu tan ba projetu Tasi Mane iha kosta súl Timor-Leste nian, no hakarak atu dada kadoras gas Greater Sunrise nian. Maibé Timor-Leste tenke redús nia obsesaun ba dezenvolvimentu hamutuk kampu mina-rai sira iha Tasi Timor nudár pakote ida hosi opsaun sira iha meja negosiasaun nian.

Bainhira Timor-Leste inklui tiha estatutu kampu gas Greater Sunrise nian iha negosiasaun, maske númeru porsaun lukru nian ba Timor-Leste bele aumenta boot liu kompara ho porsaun 50-50 ne’ebé mensiona iha Tratadu CMATS, maibé ida ne’e kontinua  fó espasu ba Australia atu mantén nia okupasaun ba territóriu Timor-Leste nian durante periodu produsaun kampu Greater Sunrise nian. La’o Hamutuk fiar katak bainhira konkordánsia foun ida ne’e tuir duni prinsipiu liña klaran iha UNCLOS, dezenvolvimentu Greater Sunrise nian bele deside de’it iha Dili no la presiza atu konsulta ho Canberra.

Basa, bainhira Timor-Leste manán de’it kadoras Greater Sunrise nian, aumenta nia porsaun reseita nian, no hatún porsaun Australia nian, maibé labele hetan fronteira maritima ida ne’ebé permanente tuir UNCLOS, rezultadu hosi negosiasaun ida ne’e bele konsidera nudár esforsu atu “reboka” de’it Tratadu CMATS duke konkista vitória ida hosi “luta soberania” ida.

23 July 2017

Who is in Timor-Leste’s new Parliament? / Se tuir iha Parlamentu Nasionál foun?

Updated, 4 October 2017

Based on the July 2017 election, La’o Hamutuk calculated how many seats each party will get in the next Parliament.  For each slate, we have listed the next few names (italicized, gray background) who might become Members if others decline, and listed people who declined their seats with strikeouts. Parliament has listed the members and officials of the various Committees on their website.

Tuir rezultadu eleisaun STAE, La’o Hamutuk kalkula kadeira hira partidu ida idak sei hetan iha Parlamentu Nasionál, tuir lista iha ne’e. Iha kada lista, ami inklui naran balu liu tan (italic, kór cinzas), no ema balu ne'ebe la simu sira nia kadeira ho strikeout. Parlamentu publika membru no ofisiais sira husi Komisaun ida-idak iha ninia website.

FRETILIN – kadeira 23 seats

1    Mari Bim Amude Alkatiri (M)
2    Francisco Miranda Branco (M)
3    Josefa Álvares Pereira Soares (F)
4    Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes (M)  Presidente, Parlamentu Nasional
5    Joaquim dos Santos (M)
6    Ilda Maria da Conceição (F) 
7    Rui Maria de Araújo (M)
8    Estanislau da C. Aleixo Maria da Silva (M)
9    Cidália Mesquita Ximenes (F)
10  David Dias Ximenes "Mandati" (M)
11  José Agostinho Sequeira “Somotxo” (M)
12  Florentina da Conceição Pereira Martins ”Smith” (F)
13  Antoninho Bianco (M)
14  Osório Florindo da Conceição Costa (M)
15  Maria Angélica Rangel da Cruz dos Reis (F)  Presidente, Komisaun C
16  António dos Santos "55" (M)
17  Dário Madeira (M)
18  Lídia Norberta dos Santos Martins (F) Sekretaria da Mesa, Parlamentu Nasional
19  Gabriela Alves (F)
20  Silvino Adolfo Morais (M)
21  Angélica da Costa (F) Vise Sekretaria da Mesa, Parlamentu Nasional
22  Domingos Sávio Cabral Ribeiro (M)
23  Fausto Freitas da Silva "Liurai Tasi" (M)
24  Noémia Sequeira (F)
25  Aurélio Freitas Ribeiro (M)
26  Maria Anabela Sávio (F)
27  Alexandrino Cardoso da Cruz (M)
28  Félix da Costa (M)
29  Nurima Ribeiro Alkatiri (F)
30  Gil Teófilo Amaral (M)
31  Manuel de Araujo Martins (M)
32  Mariquita Soares (F)
33  Bernardo Lopes (M)

C.N.R.T. – kadeira 22 seats

1    Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão (M)
2    Dionisio Da Costa Babo Soares (M)
3    Maria Terezinha Da Silva Viegas (F)
4    Aderito Hugo Da Costa (M) Presidente, Komisaun B
5    Francisco Kabuadi Lay (M)
6    Virginia Ana Belo (F)
7    Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes De Deus (M) Vise Presidente, Komisaun D
8    Natalino Dos Santos Nascimento (M)
9    Carmelita Caetano Moniz (F)  Presidente, Komisaun A
10  Ricardo Baptista (M)
11  Francisco Da Costa Guterres (M)
12  Brigida Antonia Correia (F)
13  Vicente Da Silva Guterres (M)
14  Duarte Nunes (M)
15  Maria Fernanda Lay (F)  Vise Presidente, Komisaun C
16  Julio Tomas Pinto (M)
17  Eduardo De Deus Barreto (M)
18  Maria Rosa Da Camara "Bisoi" (F)
19  Patrocino Fernnades Dos Reis (M)
20  Virgilio Pereira (M)
21  Albina Marcal Freitas (F)
22  Leandro Lobato (M)
23  Jacinto Viegas Vicente "Roke" (M)
24  Veneranda Eurico M. Lemos Martins (F) Presidente, Komisaun G
25  Arao Noe De J. Da C. Marcal (M)
26  Domingos Carvalho De Araujo (M)
27  Bendita Moniz Magno (F)
28  Fermino Taequi (M)
29  Domingos Lopes Lemos (M)
30  Angela M. C. De Andrade Sarmento (F)
31  Gabriel Soares (M)

32  Oscar De Araujo (M)

PLP – kadeira 8 seats

1    Taur Matan Ruak (M)
2    Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães (M)
3    Rosalina Ximenes (F)
4    Abraão José Freitas (M) Vise Presidente, Komisaun F
5    Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho (M)  Presidente, Komisaun D
6    Maria Angelina Lopes Sarmento (F) Vise Presidente, Komisaun G
7    Abel Pires da Silva (M)  Presidente, Komisaun E
8    Mericio Juvinal dos Reis (M)
9    Signi Chandrawati Verdial (F)   Vise Presidente, Komisaun A
10  Sabino Soares (M)
11  Francisco de Vasconcelos (M)

PD – kadeira 7 seats

1    Mariano Sabino Lopes (M)
2    Antonio da Conceição (M)
3    Elvina Sousa Carvalho (F) Vise Sekretaria da Mesa, Parlamentu Nasional
4    Ernesto Fernandes "Dudu" (M)
5    Adriano do Nascimento (M)
6    Maria Teresa da Silva Gusmão (F)
7    Manuel Tomas Amaral de Carvalho (M)
8    Julio Sarmento da Costa "Meta Malik" (M) Vise Presidente, Parlamentu Nasional
9    Flotilda Sequeira Hermenegildo da Costa (F)
10  Alexandre Afonso Nunes (M)
11  Jose Anuno (M)
12  Rosena Fatima de O. Martins (F)
13  Luis Mendes Ribeiro (M) 

KHUNTO – kadeira 5 seats

1    Armanda Berta dos Santos (F)  Vise Presidente, Komisaun E
2    Olinda Guterres (F)
3    António Verdial de Sousa (M) Vise Presidente, Parlamentu Nasional
4    Jose Agustinho da Silva (M) Presidente, Komisaun F
5    Luis Roberto da Silva (M)  Vise Presidente, Komisaun B
6    Irene Gonzaga Sarmento (F)
7    Antonio Maria Nobre A. Tilman (M)

19 July 2017

Advance planning … just in case

Timor-Leste voters will go to the polls this Saturday to elect 65 Members of Parliament, who will choose a Prime Minister and the country’s Seventh Constitutional Government. Although most observers do not expect major shifts in the current political line-up, the current government is awarding two major contracts now to safeguard benefits for a few, just in case voters take control of the public purse strings away from those who currently hold power.

On 27 April, the National Procurement Commission announced its intention to award more than $90 million in contracts to supply generator fuel to the Hera and Betano electric power plants for the next two years. In the past, such contracts have been awarded for one year at a time, but with a possible impending change of government, two years is safer for the suppliers.

Although the National Procurement Commission declined to respond to La’o Hamutuk’s request for more information about this tender, the bids from the two winning companies were so close as to raise concerns about possible collusion. We have no additional evidence of illicit actions, but Esperança Timor Oan (ETO, headed by Nilton Gusmão, Xanana’s nephew) won the larger contract for Hera with a bid that was 0.13% lower than the bid from SACOM Energy (headed by Abilio Araújo, a former FRETILIN leader currently campaigning for PLP). SACOM won the Betano contract, bidding 1.8% lower than ETO. Pertamina also bid for both contracts, bidding more than 10% above the other two companies.

Another tender was announced on 14 July, with the National Procurement Commission inviting bids to supply 68 Toyota Prado Land Cruisers to Parliament. Although the tender is open until 14 August and the price in the winning bid is not yet known, the 2017 State Budget allocates $3.2 million to purchase vehicles for Parliament this year (up from $86 thousand in 2016 and $22 thousand in 2015), so apparently each car will cost more than $45,000.

Five years ago, Parliament spent $4 million to buy new cars for each of its Members to use, and the Members were allowed to purchase the old ones for personal use at bargain prices. We don’t know how many of those cars are still on the road, but the pattern is repeating. The National Procurement Commission was more helpful this time, and supplied the detailed bidding documents, including this specification. On 27 July, the National Procurement Commission held a pre-bid meeting and amended the documents.

Although announcements about these tenders have been published in local newspapers and on the Ministry of Finance website, the news has not been reported in commercial or social media, and La’o Hamutuk think it is important for voters to know.

Timor-Leste’s oil revenues have nearly ended, and the $16 billion saved in the Petroleum Fund is being depleted. When voters go to the polls, we encourage them to support parties which envision a sustainable, diversified, equitable economy for all of Timor-Leste’s people.

Governu nia planu sedu … atu antisipa buat ruma?

Timor oan sira sei ba sentru votasaun iha Sábadu semana ne’e atu hili Deputadu/a na’in 65, sira ne’e mak sei deside Timor-Leste nia Primeiru Ministru no Sétimu Governu Konstitusionál. Maske ema barak la ekspeta katak sei iha mudansa signifikante iha estrutura polítika daudaun ne’e nian, maibé governu atuál fó sai ona kontratu boot rua atu asegura sira nia benefísiu rasik,  atu antisipa  votante sira manán  fali kontrola ba sira nia fundu públiku husi ukun na’in sira atuál.

Iha 27 Abril, Komisaun Nasional ba Aprovizionamentu (CNA) anúnsiu katak nia intensaun atu ajudika kontratu ho montante liu tokon $90 atu fornese kombustivel ba sentru elétriku Hera no Betano, ba tinan rua oin mai nian. Iha pasadu, kontratu sira hanesan ne’e fó de’it ba durasaun tinan ida. Tanba posivel atu iha governu foun, entaun kontratu ba tinan rua ne’e asegura benefísiu ba fornesedór atuál sira.

Maske Komisaun Aprovizionamentu lakohi atu hatán ba La’o Hamutuk nia pedidu atu hetan informasaun liután kona-ba tender ida ne’e, presu iha proposta husi kompañia rua ne’ebé manán besik hanesan, no ida ne’e hamosu preokupasaun kona-ba poténsia ba koluzaun. La’o Hamutuk la iha evidénsia adisionál kona-ba aktu ilegál ruma, maibé Esperança Timor Oan (ETO, ne’ebé lidera husi Nilton Gusmão, Xanana Gusmao nia sobriñu) manán kontratu ida montante boot ba Hera, maibé nia proposta fó presu 0.13% ki’ik liu kompara ho proposta ne’ebé hato’o husi SACOM Energy (lidera husi Abilio Araújo, eis lider prinsipál FRETILIN iha tempu funu ne’ebé daudaun ne’e halo hela kampaña ba PLP) nian. Aumezmu tempu, SACOM manán kontratu ba sentrál elétrika Betano, ho proposta ne’ebé 1.8% ki’ik liu kompara ho ETO nian. Pertamina mós tuir konkursu ba kontratu rua ne’e hotu, ho proposta rua ho presu 10% boot liu kompara ho kompañia rua ne’ebé ikus mai manán kontratu.

Aleinde ne’e, tenderizasaun seluk tan anunsia ona iha semana ida ne’e, ne’ebé Komisaun Nasional Aprovizionamentu konvida proposta atu fornese Toyota Prado Land Cruiser 68 ba Parlamentu Nasional. Maske tenderizasaun sei loke to’o 14 Agostu no ita seidauk hatene loos montante presu loloos, maibé Orsamentu Estadu 2017 aloka ona tokon $3.2 atu hola karreta foun ba Parlamentu iha tinan ida ne’e (sa’e husi rihun $86 iha 2016 no rihun $22 iha 2015), entaun ita bele dehan katak kada karreta ida nia folin sei liu  $45,000.

Tinan lima liu ba, Parlamentu gasta tokon haat hodi ba sosa karreta foun ba ninia deputadu/a sira, no bainhira sira nia mandatu remata, deputadu/a sira ne’e bele leilaun karreta tuan sira ba sira nia uzu privadu, ho presu ne’ebé baratu liu. Ita la hatene karik karreta Prado sira ne’e barak mak sei funsiona hela ka lae, maibé tendénsia ba leilaun ida ne’e repete fila fali ona. Komisaun Nasional Aprovizionamentu kolabora ho di’ak kona-ba tender ida ne’e nia informasaun kompara ho detallu tenderizasaun sira ba kombustivel nian. CNA fornese dokumentu tenderizasaun sira ho detallu, inklui espesifikasaun ida ne’e. KNA halo enkontru "pre-bid" iha loron 27 Jullu, no fo sai alterasaun ba dokumentu sira.

Maske anúnsiu sira kona-ba tenderizasaun publika ona iha jornál lokál no iha Ministériu Finansas nia portal, informasaun sira ne’e seidauk fó sai iha media komersiál ka sosiál sira, no La’o Hamutuk hanoin katak importante atu votante sira bele hatene.

Timor-Leste nia reseita petróleu besik atu hotu ona, no biliaun $16 ne’ebé sei rai hela iha Fundu Petrolíferu komesa tun ona. Bainhira votante sira ba vota, ami enkoraja sira atu suporta partidu sira ne’ebé mak iha vizaun ba ekonomia sustentável, diversifikadu, no justu ba Timor oan sira hotu.