On 30 May 2012, the Minister of Finance Dra Emilia Pires inaugurated two Ministry of Finance’ office buildings in Bobonaro, which consisted of the Office for the Revenues & Customs and the Office for Statistics. The event was participated in by a number of national staff and community members as well as by representatives from UNMIT and from the neighboring country, Indonesia.
In her speech, the Minister Pires spoke about the reforms programs that have taken place within the Ministry since 2008/, whose objective was to improve provision of services to its clients, not only within the Ministry but also to other agencies of the State. As part of this reform process, the Ministry of Finance has undergone restructuring of its organizational structure into 4 (four) Directorates General, such as Directorate General for State Finances that supervises treasury, budget, procurement, Assets, and autonomous agencies; Directorate General for Policy Analysis and Research that supervises macro economy, statistics and petroleum fund; Directorate General for Revenues and Customs that supervises Customs, domestic revenues and petroleum revenues; and the Directorate General for Corporate Services. Apart from the four directorates general, the Minister supervises directly one special directorate, the directorate of Aid Effectiveness which deals with donor agencies.
Minister Pires also emphasized that this reform process has taken into consideration 5 pillars such as: 1) Legislation, 2) Systems and procedures ( FreeBalance, ASYCUDA, etc. ), 3) Institutional building (establishment of a commercial bank, the transformation of BPA into Central Bank), 4) Human Resources (recruitment of DGs and Directors which strictly based on merit system), and 5) Infrastructure ( improving the conditions of infrastructure to facilitate the staff in order to improve provision of services to the clients).
Minister Pires specifically highlighted the importance of statistics for the development of the country as evidenced through the 2010 census and a number of surveys that came afterwards. These statistics required the government to set up policies in response to the needs of the people and the country. Minister Pires also added that the government plan to establish an Independent Statistics Body in the near future to achieve a more reliable and accurate statistics, independent from any political intervention.
In regards to Customs, Minister Pires emphasized the significant role that this institution play as it deals with border issues which is crucial for the security and stability of the country. Further, Minister Pires said that to best respond to border issues and its relating challenges, the government has established 3 (three) Integrated Border Posts (IBPs) – in Salele (Suai), Batugade (Bobonaro) and Sakato (Oecussi), as the first phase, and she expressed hope that the new Government will continue this program and construct new IBPs in other border places in the future.
Referring to the results of 2010 census, Minister Pires also talked about the importance of the women’s role through the promotion of gender equality in a more balanced manner, and the elimination of all kinds of discrimination against women.
In addition, Minister Pires emphasized that the key achievements of this Government over the past 5 years was the peace and stability that all Timorese are now enjoying. She stated that one of the most notable achievements was the extraordinary role and leadership that Timor Leste provided in the g7+ countries. The g7+ group now comprises of 17 countries across the world with more than 400 million people. Another impressive success that was widely applauded by the international community was the recent presidential elections. The world is also expecting that Timor-Leste can also accomplish the same success in the upcoming Parliamentary elections.
The District Administrator of Bobonaro, Mr. Domingos Martins thanked the Minister for inaugurating the two office buildings which are not only important for the country, but also for Bobonaro district. In this regard, Mr. Martins said that the geographical position of Bobonaro district that shares border with Indonesia is an advantage to generate income for the country. He congratulated the Minister of Finance for her extraordinary leadership and vision in establishing sophisticated integrated border posts in Batugade, Salele and Sakato. Mr. Martins also took this opportunity to say good bye to all who have worked together with him during his tenure as the district administrator. He then expressed hope that the next government will speed up the establishment of municipalities nationwide in order to improve the implementation of development programs.