National Parliament Budget
After the approval of the budget for the Office of the President of the RDTL on Monday afternoon, with 45 in favor, 0 against and 10 abstain, the Parliament today continued its debate in specialty starting with the Budget for National Parliament in the amount of $15,569,000. The Plenary started the debate with proposal N.32 from MP Manuel Tilman which has been re-elaborated from several proposals. It proposed to recover (reposição) the amount of $1,862,000 that was cut down by Government because it exceeded the fiscal envelope. There were pros and cons in this regards. The “pros” (including the proponents Manuel Tilman and VP Vicente Guterres,) clarified that this amount was approved in plenary through a resolution on last September in view of the internal Parliament regulation (Parliament decree law on LOFAP), therefore it is legal. The “Cons” viewed that this kind of establishing and approving budget for Parliament individually, is illegal according to the article 145 of the Constitution of RDTL, by which the Government is the only body to elaborate the General Budget of State, and provides fiscal envelopes to different state institutions including Parliament. They suggested to scrutinize the allocation benefit of this budget and also inviting the CAC to investigate previous budgets execution. Some others advised to preserve the Parliament as a role model to other agencies due to its central position in making laws, on the contrary it may cause serious and far reaching consequences to the nation.
PM commented that taking into consideration respect for other state organs, and that it was decided through a resolution and has been published in the official gazette, he accepted the proposal but reminded that this should be the last time. He recommended to improve coordination between government and Parliament and other state organs in order to avoid problems relating to budget preparation system.
Then the proposal n.32 was voted and approved: in favor 32, against 18 and abstain 2.
Finally, the plenary voted and approved the budget for the Parliament: in favor 32, against 14 and abstain 1, so that the total budget for the NP is $15,569,000 (including the $1,682,000).
After intense debate, there was a request from MPs to reopen the debate through voting, with the following results: in favor 2, against 32 and abstain 4, and 16 MPs did not vote. So, the plenary declined the reopening of debate and agreed with the budget of NP that already included the amount of $1.682 M, as above.
Budget for Office of Prime Minister and Presidency of Council of Ministers.
Before entering the discussions, the Chair suggested to the plenary, bearing in mind efficiency reasons, to first allow the proponents of 6 proposals to provide the rationales of their proposals and then will be commented by MPs and by Government, globally. This was protested by many MPs because it would breach the rules of debate in the Parliament.
There were 6 proposals presented for debate, all relating to office of Advisor for Civil Society, with the total budget $10.3M. The proposals are: N.22, N. 31, N. 33, N. 34, N. 35, and N. 36.
Proposal N. 22, by Fernanda Borges and colleagues proposed to add $150,000 for the Timorese Parliamentarians who are united in a NGO that works in connection with GOPAC, a world parliamentarians organization against corruption. The proposal aims to get financial support from the Government through civil society budget support, in order to participate in the GOPAC conferences worldwide. They justified that as an NGO it would be better to have this budget sitting under the office of PM, i.e. in the civil society budget instead of Parliament Budget to avoid conflict of interest as well as dependency on the donors funding support. The activity aims to support in the achievement of good governance, in the lead up of ASEAN membership.
Proposal N. 31, by Pedro da Costa and colleagues, envisages to propose an additional budget of $750,000 to support financing of a Catholic University building construction, under the auspice and management of the Dili Catholic Church led by Bishop. The rationale is the extraordinary reputation and contribution of Catholic Church in the education sector over centuries in TL, believing that such a new catholic university will provide greater chance to better off the quality of education in the country.
Proposal N. 33 by Osorio Florindo envisages to add $150,000 for the ceremony of establishment of a parish in Luro sub district.
Proposal N. 34 by Inacio Moreira and colleagues proposed to add $750,000 for the orphanages under the control of Association of Catholic Congregations.
Proposal N. 35 by Aderito Hugo da Costa and colleagues proposed for rehab of church and residence of parish in Same.
Proposal N. 36 by Aderito and Arao proposed to add $50,000 for the traditional ceremony in the lead up or during 100th year of commemoration of D.Boaventura’s revolt, but suggest to be separate from the whole budget of $4 M in the Ministry of State Administration. The proposal aims to dignify the culture and tradition that have underpinned the struggle of heroes in this respect.
Regarding additional budgets for the catholic church, most comments suggested that provision of financial support should be done in light of proper mechanism and other internal procedures of civil society and the Church, in order to avoid disruption of the mechanisms and procedures not only in these organizations but also importantly in the government. Therefore, some MPs reminded that approval of one or more proposals in this parliament plenary out of the above framework may create bad precedents in the future.
Prime Minister in principle agreed with the proposals but left it for the plenary to decide. He promised to coordinate with the Catholic leadership in the near future to discuss relating issues including the management of funding support in accordance with the laws in force.
The plenary then voted the proposals as follows:
N. 22- in favor 18, against 20 and abstain 10, so the proposal was not approved.
Proposal N. 31, in favor 14, against 20 and abstain 15, the proposal was not approved by parliament.
Proposal n. 33- in favor 17, against 8 and abstain 19, hence approved b parliament.
Proposal n. 34, in favor 10, against 26 and abstain 7, so the parliament did not approve the proposal.
Proposal n.35, in favor 16, against 18 and abstain 10, so the proposal was not approved by parliament.
Proposal n.36 in favor 45, against 0 and abstain 2, means that the proposal for traditional ceremony for D. Boaventura’s commemorations was unanimously approved by parliament.