The Parliament continued its debate in specialty on the third day starting with the Office of Prime Minister and Presidency of COM.
Before entering the discussion there was announcement on temporary substitution from Faustino Renang to Sabina da Silva (UNDERTIM) given due to health reasons.
Responding to Inacio Moreira’s information regarding black outs in Maliana and elsewhere due to fuel supply problems, Prime Minister admitted that there may be situations where contractors that are awarded with contracts but later they have no capacity to implement.
Several proposals were tabled for debate, such as:
Proposal N. 3 by Elizario and Antonino Bianco proposed to eliminate a sum of $5,000 for car renting, taking into account that lots of cars have been purchased since 2008-2011, which correspond to a total budget of $63.132 M, therefore these cars are supposed to be available and just need to be maintained, hence there is no need to rent cars.
PM explained that in fact his office has substantially reduced car renting budget from $21,000 in 2010, to $ 12,000 in 2011 and this budget of $5,000in 2012. This amount is really important for his staff traveling to districts for monitoring of civil society projects countrywide.
After the clarification by PM, the proponents cancelled the proposals N. 3 and N. 4 that have similar purposes.
Proposal N. 8 proposed to reduce budget of 500,000 out of $1 M for ADN because last year the budget allocated for ADN was $3.5M in G&S item, from which $3M that were allocated for recruitment of professional staff, were not properly executed and transferred to Capital Minor to purchase vehicles.
PM recognized that last year the budget was just put “in general” so that it was used without proper disaggregation. However he assured that the budget for 2012 has been clearly defined and disaggregated. He informed that this year 31 young technicians comprising of civil engineers, architects, finance officers, and drivers, have been recruited. Next year, 29 technicians will also be recruited and it is expected that in the end, the agency will have a total number of 84 staff, some of them will be distributed to districts to undertake corresponding jobs there. PM guaranteed that these young people are very dedicated and committed to their jobs and to the nation, and are clean from corruption despite many attempts from contractors’ bribery. Regarding international advisers, PM informed that there are 15 technically professional people that have been recruited who are very experienced and experts in their respective areas. They are needed to teach our young people on designing and BOQ in order to guarantee the quality of projects. PM recognized that the last year budget of $3.5 M was not properly disaggregated and so the agency had some kind of flexibility to purchase vehicles, but this year with only $1.6 M, he assured that it will be very detailed, and the agency will strictly follow the rules. He also expected that by next year, the government will bring the OGE to Parliament with all necessary BOQs and designs.
Hearing the explanation of PM the proponents cancelled their proposal N. 8 but expecting to really implement the budget as per the explanation.
Proposal N 7 by Antonino Bianco, Joaquim Santos and Elizario proposed to reduce $175,000 out of $1,175,000 for the National Procurement Commission, taking into consideration that: there has been no information on the execution of the previous budget execution (2011) of $2M for recruitment of international and national staff.
PM responded that similar to ADN, the government intended to employ an international firm to carry out relating complicated tasks of engineering and design, BOQ, etc. which require very knowledgeable and experienced people in order to ensure the quality of projects, and costs effectiveness. To this end, 10-15 firms have been invited and only 7 were able to return their assessment results. The selected company will employ 4 full time technicians with high level of technical expertise who in turn will invite very experienced and knowledgeable people in various areas of expertise such as roads, bridges and housing. Therefore this budget is highly necessary to pay their professional fees so as to ensure the quality of services that we require. PM also denied the queries on accumulation of jobs relating to NPC and ADN under his control, as centralization; just the contrary, the PDL, PDD1 and PDD 2, and decentralization of procurement up to $1M to line ministries are clear evidences of decentralization.
After the explanation of PM, the proponents cancelled their proposal N 7.
Unlike the Proposal N 7, above, the proposal N 39 by Duarte Nunes and colleagues, proposed to add $1,861,000 to original amount of $2.139 M, so that the total budget for NPC is $4 M. Similar to the PM explanation above, the proponents justified that the additional budget is necessary to ensure quality of design, BOQ, costs effectiveness, etc. which our technical staff cannot afford at this stage.
The proposal was voted and approved: In favor 37, against 10 and abstain 3.
Proposal N. 2, by Antonino Bianco and colleagues proposed to eliminate budget amount of $60,000 for property rent in the Inspect General Office, bearing in mind that the previous budget of $100,000 was not used as planned but transferred and used for training.
PM agreed with the proposal because in January 2012 one building in Balide will be available for IGO, so there is no need for property rent.
The proposal was voted and approved by plenary: in favor 46, against 0 and abstain 2.
Next, the budget for the OPM and Presidency of COM was approved by plenary : in favor 36, against 1 and abstain 12.
Next , concerning the Secretariat of State for COM, 1 proposal N. 9 by Antonino Bianco and colleagues proposed for reduction of budget in the amount of $1 M out of $1.340 M, taking into account that last year a sum of $261,000 was also allocated for social communication services, and $340,00 are deemed enough for the activity.
The SECOM justified that the budget is very important and intended to cover many activities in relation with dissemination programs taking into consideration the important events to be held next year such as: elections, commemorations, etc. Specifically this budget will be used to support community radio programs, workshops and conferences of professionals, veterans, youths, etc, as well as countering media releases that are incorrect and disseminating correct information to society, and improvement of GIO (government Information Office) in order to better respond to the evolving needs of sophisticated communication technology.
The proposal was voted and not approved by plenary, in favor 18, against 29 and abstain 0.
Further the OGE for the SE for COM was voted and approved : in favor 37, against 9 and abstain 6.
In relation with 4 Secretariats of State such as, SERN (Natural Resources), SEFOPE (professional training and employment) , SEYS (Youth and Sports), there was no proposal for discussions. However the Chair asked them to provide clarifications to the queries of the MPs.
SEYS- in response to question from MPs on how to improve the quality of football team and other kinds of sports before participating in the international event like SEA Games in Jakarta, the SEYS emphasized that according to FIFA regulation, the government must not intervene in the sports issues, however he promised to do his best to communicate this query to the responsible federation authorities and provide the necessary support to achieve a required level.
SEFOPE- responding to the question that 26 Timorese workers in South Korea have been deported, SEFOPE denied and clarified that only 4 workers were deported, while the 26 workers have returned home for various reasons, including: contracts expire, transference of work place which is deemed breaching the contract signed with the company, and health problems. To date, there are 615 Timorese workers in South Korea, of which 130 may return and the majority are still there, many of them are successful. The government is analyzing the positive impact of these people working in South Korea, including contribution to the economy of their families and the country as a whole. He also informed that government will construct new training centers in Maubise, Baucau and Suai to respond to the growing needs of skilled people.
SERN informed on the Supply Base preparations in Suai in terms of land acquisition and a multipurpose training center. Which regards to land, a government task force comprising of SERN, MOJ, PNTL is working hard to this end, but ensuring to stay in line and respect for the cultural interests of local people. Regarding workers for LNG, observing from LNG plant in Papua New Guinea which employs 10,000, it is expected that the same number of people will be working in the plant, once the pipeline project is realized, and at the end, 100 to 200 workers and technicians will remain in the location.
SE of Energy Policy responded to queries on the criteria for distribution of solar panels, that the distribution is based on the request from groups of population.
After those explanations, the plenary proceeded for voting of the Budgets for these secretariats of state, as follows:
SEYS- in favor 36, against 4 and abstain 11. SERN, in favor 35 against 6 and abstain 10. SEFOPE, in favor 39, against 2 and abstain 11. SE Energy Policy, in favor 34, against 2, and abstain 16.
Lastly, one proposal N. 41, by Josefa Soares (Fretilin) and colleagues across benches proposed to add $105,000 to the original budget of $151,000 for Directorate of Policy and Gender Development, which aimed to provide financial support to the office of Ms Milena Pires, a Timorese Woman who was successfully elected to be one of CEDAW Directors, in New York, which deserves all Timorese pride and financial support from this state.
On the other hand, SEPI responded that her secretariat of state welcomed and appreciated the proposal as a great contribution and recognition to the women’s increasing role in this country. Furthermore she said that according to statistics figures the percentage of women in the state institutions is growing and the women’s role in the state institutions is significantly recognized by Timorese society.
The proposal was voted and approved by the plenary, in favor 34, against 7 (Antonino and Joaquim Santos, both Fretilin). And abstain 8.