Dili – On the morning 26 February 2015, members of the Commission C of the Timor-Leste National Parliament made a surprise visit to the Ministry of Finance. The delegation, which was headed by Pedro Mártires da Costa, president of the Commission C, was received by Minister of Finance, Ms. Santina Cardoso.
The visit started with the Minister of Finance and the Director of Treasury, Mr. Agostinho Castro accompanying the delegation to inspect the works of front, middle and back office of the Payroll Department under the Directorate General of Treasury. The unscheduled visit was motivated by the lawmakers’ concern of the “recent complaints” raised regarding “the late payment of salaries of some public servants”.
In response to such concern, the Minister informed the delegation that “the government has put rules and regulations, systems and procedures in place to ensure that the payment process is done in a timely, efficient and effective manner”.
According to the Law, line ministries are required to submit to the Ministry of Finance the request and required documentations for processing payment of public servants salaries no later than the 15th day each month. Late submission will not be processed and deferred to the following month.
In addition, the Minister mentioned that a “check list” was created and distributed to finance officials in the line ministries. The “check list” is a comprehensive list of the crucial tasks in the payment process. It ensures that no important step is forgotten. It helps improve efficiency by minimizing mistakes and the time delay to rectify these mistakes.
The Minister also shared with the delegation that regular training is provided to the finance officials of the line ministries. The purpose of the training, she said, is to help these officials to familiarize and improve themselves on the use of FreeBalance system and its added features.
The Minister further informed the lawmakers that the Ministry of Finance is going to organize a national test to all public servants, agents and managers who deal with public finance including procurement, public contract, assets and logistics management. The test aims to evaluate the capacity of those finance officials in the areas of arithmetic, analytical skills, mathematic competencies, procurement laws and regulations, budgeting, financial and assets management.
The visit, which lasted for about an hour, ended with members of the delegation concluding that “the problem lies not with the Ministry of Finance, but the line ministries”.