Dili, Timor-Leste, 26th of May 2020: The Government of Timor-Leste, represented by the Acting Minister of Finance, Honorable Sara Lobo Brites and the Government of Australia represented by the Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Honorable Peter Roberts signed the “Direct Budget Support for Community Resilience and Economic Recovery” agreement. Through this agreement, the Government of Australia will provide AUD 7 million to the Programa Nacional de Desenvolvimento de Suco (PNDS).
Australia recently announced an AUD 10 million allocation to help Timor-Leste combat the Coronavirus pandemic. AUD 3 million has gone directly to support the health sector which includes procurement of personal protective equipment, upgrading isolation infrastructure and laboratory equipment, and health worker trainings.
However, the Coronavirus is not a health issue alone. Social distancing and emergency lockdowns have a direct and significant social and financial impact on people’s lives. That is why, the Government of Australia and the Government of Timor-Leste have entered into an agreement to increase funding for the PNDS program that has a proven track record of producing impactful change in rural communities.
The funding will be used to fund small scale infrastructure in the areas of irrigation and water and sanitation. This funding will be critical in building much needed infrastructure and will provide an additional source of income and support for sucos across the country.
With the assistance of the Ministry of Finance, the Government of Australia will provide funding directly into the PNDS program, thus reducing administrative and time-consuming procedures, resulting in a program that strongly adheres to the country-owned, country-led and use of country system principles of development.
The Government of Timor-Leste thanks the Government of Australia for its support in this crucial time and hopes that this initiative will further strengthen the ties between the countries.