On 28 May 2012, the Minister of Finance, Dra Emilia Pires inaugurated two office buildings respectively for Statistics and Customs & Revenues. Among others, the Director General of Policy Analysis and Research and other officials from the Ministry of Finance at national level and local authorities including the District Administrator and the Catholic Church also attended the inauguration ceremony.
In terms of funding sources, the office/ mess of Customs and Revenues was financed by the Ministry of Finance state budget of 2011 while the new office building of Statistics was financed by the state budget allocated for PDD I.
In the ceremony, the Minister of Finance in her speech emphasized on 5 fundamental reforms programs undertaken by the ministry over the past 5 years 2007-2012, such as: 1) Legislation, with the Organic Law of the Ministry of Finance which was approved with the Decree Law N.7/2007, based on the article 21 of the Organic Law of the IV Constitutional Government, 2) Systems and Procedures (including the FreeBalance), 3) institutional building with 4 Directorates General, 4) Human resources through PDP program of capacity building, and 5) enhancing Infrastructure of the ministry.
When asked by the journalists about the highway roads lane Dili-Baucau, Minister Pires informed that according to the MOU signed by the Government of Timor Leste with the Japanese Government in Tokyo, early this year, the project will probably start with mobilization of the equipments for the road works in 2013. In this context, to ensure high quality of the projects in the country, and also to convince partnerships including with the Japanese government on this matter, the government of Timor Leste just recently recruited an international Procurement Company, Charles Kendall from United Kingdom after a long and competitive selection process. The company is mandated to provide technical services as mentioned above in collaboration with the National Procurement Commission in order to meet the required internationally acceptable procurement standards, as well as to provide capacity building to NPC staff during its mandate.
The Director General of Policy Analysis and Research, Mr. Antonio Freitas in his speech appreciated the idea of having these statistics and customs/revenues offices at the region, as part of Ministry reforms proclaimed in the early stage of the mandate. The offices are highly useful to accommodate the staffs of the ministry, not only to contribute for improvement of services to the clients in the region but also to contribute for the policy making and analysis at the national level. Mr. Freitas recognized that Statistics Office at the national and district levels are facing enormous challenges, including primarily the lack of skilled and knowledgeable human resources and necessary equipments to carry out their jobs properly. Therefore, taking into consideration the importance of statistics role in the country, he expressed his anxiety of having 65 statistics officers at the sub districts level, in accordance with the instruction of the Minister some time ago. In this regards, he expected that the ministry is able to overcome bureaucracy challenges due to centralized recruitment in the hands of Public Service Commission before the end of the mandate of this government.
The District Administrator of Baucau Mr. Antonio Guterres said that the existence of these two new office buildings of the MOF is really encouraging for the district administration and management staff, in particular in the area of Finance. It also constitutes core infrastructure offices for the upcoming municipalities in the eastern region. In the end, he proudly stated that the most encouraging is that despite coming to end of its mandate the IV Constitutional Government demonstrates its commitment to build something very useful to be used by the next government for the sake of social wellbeing in the future.