• PRESS RELEASE: MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND FINANCE AND THE ADB COLLABORATE TO IMPROVE POVERTY AND INEQUALITY REDUCTION IN TIMOR-LESTE.

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PRESS RELEASE: MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND FINANCE AND THE ADB COLLABORATE TO IMPROVE POVERTY AND INEQUALITY REDUCTION IN TIMOR-LESTE.

PRESS RELEASE MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND FINANCE AND THE ADB COLLABORATE TO IMPROVE POVERTY AND INEQUALITY REDUCTION IN TIMOR-LESTE

Dili, 20 February 2018 – Today the Ministry of Planning and Finance together with Professor Stephen Younger, from the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Institute, and the Asian Development Bank, presented the assessment preliminary results to line ministries. The assessment evaluates the impact of fiscal policy on poverty and inequality reduction and develops a set of core considerations for strengthening the impact of future policy on equity goals.

The Minister of Planning and Finance, Dr. Rui Augusto Gomes, PhD in his opening remarks to the participants noted that: ‘The Ministry of Planning and Finance has a responsibility to guide line ministries to ensure that their programs and their budgets protect the most vulnerable through fiscally sustainable, effective interventions.’

The Ministry of Planning and Finance began working on this assessment in May 2017. Today, line ministries will validate the findings and learn the power of the assessment for policy development and fiscal reform.

The assessment makes use of data collected by the Ministry of Finance and World Bank for the Timor-Leste Survey of Living Standards conducted in 2014 covering 5916 households. The survey results showed that Timor-Leste national poverty headcount decreased from 50.4% in 2007 to 41.8% in 2014. To compare with other countries, the measurement is based on $1.90 per day, the level of poverty in Timor-Leste is 30%.

Professor Younger said: ‘Taxes and expenditures Timor-Leste generate an unusually large amount of poverty reduction compared with other developing countries, with a more limited reduction in inequality.’

The final policy considerations of the assessment will strengthen the Ministry of Finance’s ability to take and encourage policy decisions across government that will contribute to the Strategic Development Plan’s broad vision of Timor-Leste in 2030 as an upper middle income country where extreme poverty has been eradicated.

The ADB Country Director Paolo Spantigati noted the importance of the government’s health and education programs: “Young people are the future of this country and this economy. Investing in health and education helps to reduce poverty today and ensures that we can all look forward to a brighter future”.

For further information, please contact: Cecilia Tilman Gonçalves, Fiscal Reform Commission,
on +670 7727 6436, ctgoncalves@mof.gov.tl