The plenary today was chaired by President of NP Fernando Lasama de Araujo, continuing its debate on the OGE for Ministry of Infrastructure with 13 proposals tabled for discussion. Proposals in the category of Good and Services are 94, 95, 79, 126, 78, 132, 133, 78, and 77; and for capital development are: n. 45, 128, and 130. Most of them have been exhaustively discussed in the previous day debate.
Good and Services (G&S)
Proposal N. 94, by Arao Noe proposed to add $129,000 to $200,000 for fuel for heavy equipments;
Proposal N. 95, also by Arao and colleagues proposed additional budget of $195,000 to $5,000 for operational costs for the operators of the equipments (G&S) ;
Proposal N. 79, by Antonino Bianco and Arsenio proposed to reduce $800,000 from $1,150,000 for vehicles maintenance;
Proposal N. 126, by Pedro and Joaquim Amaral proposed to add $120,000 for mobilization of heavy equipment;
Proposal N. 78, by Antonino Bianco and Arsenio Bano proposed reduction of $2M from $87.309M for EDTL fuel, justifying last year EDTL had $75 M for fuel which they said should be enough;
Proposal N. 132 , by Romeu Moises and colleagues proposed to create budget of $4 M for acquisition of 50,000 prepaid meters to be installed in the community houses including those as result of the new central power;
Proposal N. 133, by Romeu again proposed to add $16 M to the budget of $88,087,000 of which $15 M for fuel and $1 M for security guards for the Central Power Plant in Hera and Betano;
Proposal N. 77 by Antonino B and Arsenio Bano proposed to eliminate $2,181,000 from DGCS budget; Proposal N. 104, by Joaquim Amaral and colleagues proposed to take out a sum of $25,675,000 from Infrastructure Fund (under the management of ADN) for roads and bridges maintenance and floods to be reallocated under the direct management of Secretary of State for Public Works, Ministry of Infrastructure. The whole budget of IF is $113,050,000. The proposal aims to facilitate provision of rapid assistance to emergency needs, such as natural disasters, and other kind of urgent matters, including the next 2012 general elections.
Proposal N. 134, which is very similar to proposal No 104 above, by Pedro Martires, and colleagues which proposed to create a new item /budget of $25,675,000 for roads and bridges maintenance. However, the difference is that the N. 104 proposes to take out the same amount from IF, while the no. 134 proposes to create new item/budget and not disturbing the IF.
Note: any infrastructure budget above $1 Million is placed in the Infrastructure Funds that was established in 2010 along with Human Resources Development Fund. The IF is placed under the management of ADN (Agencia de Desenvolvimento Nacional.
Capital development (CD)
Proposal N. 45, (Water supply- SAS), by Fernanda Borges and colleagues proposed to add $ 1M to the original budget of $804,000 for maintenance of schools toilets throughout territory and of the CAVR office toilet in Balide ;
Proposal N. 128 by Natalino and colleagues, creating a new budget of $450,000, for rehabilitation of infrastructure of water supply system in Zumalai, Ainaro district;
Proposal N. 130, substitutes the proposal n.123, by Riak Leman and colleagues , with a new item of $600,000, for construction of a water supply project in Same Vila; the project aims not only to meet one of basic needs of the local people but also as part of preparations for the commemorations of D Boaventura revolt 100 years ago.
Proposal N. 85, by Fernanda Borges, proposed to add $700.00 to $35,000 for construction of Centro de detencao juvenile, with suitable conditions.
1. Proposal N. 45-
How to ensure that after the project is finished, the water still flows and benefits the local people;
To improve water supply system, the government should consider several fundamental requirements such as: water catchment, water treatment, and distribution; it might be necessary to learn from other countries like Cape Verde and Israel who don’t have abundant water resources but are able to easily provide and supply it to their citizens;
2. Proposal N. 132:
This proposal is baseless; 50,000 prepaid meter are just based on judgment and not based on any plan or any feasibility study.
Can the government ensure that after installing these prepaid meters, there will be no black out?
How to ensure that everybody pays? Can the government control and regulate the illegal connections?
Using $1M for recruiting security guards is unnecessary because we have PNTL that is well trained so that we can save money;
3. Proposal N. 133
Putting a huge budget of $16 M for additional budget for EDTL, is not wise as it is not accompanied by sufficient information details on the cash flow. In 2010, 33 M were allocated for fuel but it was never enough for fuel; in 2011 an amount of $42 M were also allocated for fuel, but before the end of year, it is already depleted, and the government is now using contingency fund to fill in the gaps; so there seems to be no good plan (Fernanda Borges).
Opposition: If the fuel is not enough it should be anticipated in the government’s plan instead of just making new proposals that are just accepted by the MPs;
AMP: According to the constitution, it is the obligation and competency of the MPs to make proposals to add or to reduce the budget proposal by the government, for the well being of the people.
4. Proposal N. 104 –
The pros (proponents and opposition) said that instead of the money sitting in ADN which is still new and has been too bureaucratic, it is better to take out this budget to be managed by PW which has more experience and technical capacity.
AMP: the ADN has the systems in place, so no money should be taken out from there as it will disturb the systems.
5. Proposal n. 134
Opposition: The money for infrastructure is already too much and will not be executed properly next year, taking into consideration that the ministry of infrastructure has not proved any capability to implement infrastructure projects over the past 4 and half years, and that next year will be a decisive year for TL, that is plenty of commemorations, and importantly the general elections will absorb most government attention from the governance activities to electoral campaign. Moreover, there will only remain less than one year to implement the project. Therefore adding more money will probably not be executed completely, or it will just be used for other purposes. In addition, they said it is mandatory for the ministry of Infrastructure to do the roads and bridge maintenance and floods control.
AMP MPs – contested that as the opposition have been criticizing the government on the roads condition in the country, this is the best time to provide sufficient budget to cover most of the needs gradually.
Minister of Finance Emilia Pires explained about the Major Projects Secretariat (MPS) role. It includes a preliminary assessment of the projects administration and management and achieve an approximately accurate prices of the project submitted, before channeling its assessment results to ADN for final approval.
Minister of Infrastructure Pedro Lay commented on the above projects and accepted some of them including the N. 128, 130, and 134, but refused the n. 104, as it is not in line with the government ‘s policy and systems for ADN, despite appreciated its good intention.
Other MPs reminded that the emergency funds follows its criteria, hence ministries must not use this opportunity to avoid tender or breach procurement rules.
PM responding to allegations of lack of attention to water supply and other essential needs, advised to see the budget book n. 3 regarding districts projects list, which is very much disaggregated. PM also explained again about the roads networks.
After the explanations and comments, the plenary proceeded for voting:
Proposal N. 95 , in favor 36, against 12, and abstain 13- approved;
Proposal N. 94, in favor 36, against 1, and abstain 13- approved;
Proposal N. 133, in favor 25, against 24, and abstain 10- approved;
Proposal N. 132, in favor 34, against 18, abstain 9- approved;
Proposal N.. 45, in favor 43, against 6, abstain 12- approved;
Proposal N. 126, in favor 50, against 0, and abstain 11- approved.
Three proposals such as N. 79, n. 78, and n. 77 were cancelled by their proponents, after hearing clarification by government.
On the second round, after the break, 5 proposals on capital development category were tabled for debate, two of which N. 104, N. 105 were cancelled by its proponents as they feel satisfied by the explanation by PM and Ministers.
The rest, 3 proposals 128, 130 and 134 were submitted for voting:
N. 128 (water supply in Zumalai), in favor 53, against 0, and abstain 7- approved
N. 130 (water supply in Same) in favor 52, against 0, abstain 8- approved.
Then the budget for Ministry of Infrastructure was voted and approved: in favor 40, against 9 and abstain 11.
Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry (MTCI)
There were several proposals N. 82, 110, 81, 136, 80.
Proposal N. 82 (G&S) by Antonino Bianco and colleagues proposed to reduce $213,000 from $234,000, for professional fees, bearing in mind that last year $336,000 was allocated for professional fees to prepare 24 laws and decree laws, but nothing is done so far until this last year of tenure.
Proposal n. 110, (G&S) by Pedro da Costa and colleagues proposed to reduce $250,000 from $9,347,000 (Food security Fund) to be reallocated and add to $227,000 for National Laboratory for Food Inspection.
Proposal N. 81, by Antonno Bianco and colleagues proposed to eliminate $400,000 for public transferences, taking into account that there is no clear information on the use of last year budget of $1,875,000 for the same item. They suspected some irregularities have taken place there. Antonino informed that he heard CAC has pursued an investigation in the ministry.
Proposal n. 131(CD), by Fernanda Borges and colleagues proposed to create a budget of $250,000 to rehabilitate the Pousada Same (Guest House) in order to preserve this asset as a legacy of the Timorese history, which is a potential for tourism.
Proposal n. 80, by Antonino Bianco and colleagues proposed to eliminate $1,150,000 with the same rationale as above.
Comments and answers:
Opposition: the budget is reduced or eliminated because the use of budget in last years have not met the expectations and the budget objectives, including no provision of 24 laws or decree laws in the area of MTCI and that the beneficiaries of the public transferences are unclear;
Some opposition members urged the Minister to close down games that have absorbed lots of money from people in unfair way. This will have bad socio economic implications to the country, and possibly creating tensions and conflicts.
In response, Minister Gil Alves first denied the allegations of misuse of money and explained that it was his initiative to invite CAC for a workshop addressing such issues, and he assured that all the money has been utilized in compliance with the regulations. To prove, Minister Alves procided a long list of the activities under the MTCI programs, in particular those in the category of public transferences, which mostly benefiting small industries in various locations of districts and sub districts throughout the territory according to their respective potentials. Regarding games he underlined that they are just concessions that are contracted to private/ individuals to only carry out social and popular games, nothing else.
After intensive debate the proposals were voted as follows:
Proposal n. 82, in favor 17, against 34, abstain 4 – not approved;
Proposal n. 110, in favor 35, against 9, abstain 11 – approved;
Proposal N. 81, in favor 15, against 34, abstain 6, – not approved
Proposal N. N. 136, in favor 37, against 6, abstain 12- approved;
Proposal N. 129, in favor 41, against 1, and abstain 8; approved;
Proposal N 131, in favor 38, against 3, abstain 8, approved;
Pedro and colleagues cancelled their three proposals N. 135, N. 137, and N. 138, on i) small Marine infrastructure, ii) continuation of garden in Lecidere and iii) acquisition of new boat were.
Lastly the Budget for MTCI was voted and approved, in favor 39, against 2 and abstain 10.