After the approval of the OGE 2012 in Generality last Friday, the Parliament began the second round of debate in specialty for over 10 days starting today, 14 November 2011 with the following issues:
Voting and approval of the article 1, on Definitions with 35 in favor, 13 abstain (including Fretiln) and 3 abstained.
Then the plenary debated the article 2 on approval.
The first proposal N. 6 from Fretilin proposed to eliminate the Borrowing of $33.1 M for roads networks as appeared in the annex 1 of the government Proposal regarding the estimations of revenues and borrowings. The proponents justified that the borrowing of only $33.1 M is just a small amount therefore unnecessary, because TL has sufficient money from PF and the balance at the end of fiscal year are enough to finance such project. They also said that the attention of the government will be bogged down by the 2012 general elections and importantly it will burden the next government and future generations. Therefore they suggested to seek national consensus before realizing such borrowing.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance disagreed with the elimination proposal and explained that, there are already creditor agencies (JICA, ADB, World Bank, and Exim Bank) ready to provide their borrowed money along with the design for the roads network (Dili-Liquica-Ermera; Dili-Maubise-Ainaro-Same; Manatuto-Natarbora; Dili-Manatuto –Baucau). He assured that the project quality will comply with international standards and will certainly provide socio-economic return in the medium to long term; PM also said that the borrowing provides the best conditions that are suitable to TL development needs and socio-economic conditions. Minister Pires added that the Department of debt management in the MOF is looking after this program and will monitor the interest rates and other associated issues to ensure that the negotiations and implementation are in line with the government expectations. She emphasized that it is still in negotiations process and no agreement has been signed yet.
The proposal N. 6 was then voted and not approved by Plenary: in favor 18 (Fretilin), against 32 (AMP and abstain 5.
Another proposal N.5 from Fretilin MPs was tabled for discussion, which proposed alteration of allocation of several numbers in the category of “Non Oil Revenues”. This includes the alteration of $136.1 M (domestic revenues) to $144.2 M and the inclusion of $7.2M that the proponents believed to be derived from rice sale and currently sitting in treasury. They justified that the proposal is intended to enhance government activities in exploring more grounds for increasing non oil revenues.
Prime Minister underlined that the government has made its best in increasing non-oil revenues. As result, the revenues have increased from time to time over the past 4 years. The government policy nowadays is not to burden too much on the people taking into consideration the socio economic condition of people. To compensate, with the increasing infrastructure facilities, the non oil revenues will be naturally increased once the economy of people is improved. In addition, Minister Pires also denied the amount of $7.2 M in the treasury.
The proposal N 5 was voted and not approved by plenary with details: in favor 17 (Fretilin, against 37 (AMP) and abstain 2.
The proposal N. 17 by Arao Noe and Manuel Tilman, proposed an additional amount of $10 M to the original amount of $33.1 M of borrowing as above, for the roads Dli-Maubise-Ainaro and Same. The rationale is that the World Bank who will finance this roads network is ready to implement it in 2013, however the agency has said that they are ready to implement the project in 2012, if needed. The proponents also said that this roads network is one of the primary roads arteries that link the north and south coasts, in particular to Betano oil industrial area.
Some members of Parliament questioned the necessity of this amount of money taking into consideration the rationale for borrowing as mentioned above, mainly because there is no clear justification and no study details have been provided to back up this proposal, and that the proposal tends to only favoring certain areas of territory.
Prime Minister accepted the proposal and assured that this roads network is just the beginning of the roads development program and will certainly be followed by other similar projects in other regions in phases.
The proposal N. 17 was voted and approved by plenary: in favor 34, against 17 and abstain 5.
Further, the plenary voted and approved the Annex 1 in totality: in favor 38, against 17 and abstain 0.
The plenary also voted and approved the sub article a) of article 2, as follows: in favor 39 (AMP and PUN), against 14 and abstain 1.
The last proposal N. 15 was from PUN regarding “continuation of dissemination of the Post CAVR books”. The proponents explained that so far international agencies including from Germany Government have financed this program, under the “language translation program”, into Bahasa Indonesia. They also said that in relation with post CAVR, 2 laws respectively on “institutional Memory” and “rehabilitation program” have been submitted to Parliament but not discussed yet. Therefore the proposal envisaged to add $175,000 to the original amount of $263,000 to implement this program.
The PM agreed with the proposal and informed that the government has been pending this issue due to its broad and complicated nature. The government is now focusing more on finalizing the veterans’ problems but affirmed that he plans to discuss it in next January including “other types of victims” of the civil war.
It was decided to take the budget from the balance of $230 M. The proposal N. 15 was voted and approved by plenary : in favor 42, against 2 and abstain 10.