Timor-Leste has developed much since Independence. The country has more people than ever before; young people who want to work and contribute to their country. The economy is growing and the country’s access to international markets is expanding. Businesses want to come to Timor-Leste, and other countries want to trade and buy its products. However, to continue to grow and develop, the government needs to diversify its economy.
Since Independence the country has been fortunate to have money from oil which the Government wisely secured in the petroleum fund. This fund has paid for Timor-Leste’s development. It has paid for the running of government and supported veterans and the elderly. But oil will not last forever; the price of oil is dropping and oil reserves will eventually run out. It is important that Timor-Leste starts raising more domestic revenue to pay for the running of the government and ensure there is enough money to pay for teaches, doctors, police officers, soldiers and other vital services when the petroleum wealth eventually runs out.
The government must raise alternative sources of domestic revenue to pay for costs of running the government and the country. The government also needs to make sure that the petroleum fund lasts as long as possible. It can do this by investing in the many economic sectors that show strong potential, such as forestry, fisheries, tourism, mining, agriculture and manufacturing. The government cannot wait till after the oil runs out to make these changes and investments. It must do so now. This is why the government is carrying out the parliament-approved fiscal reform programme; a national initiative.