In order to better facing the new fiscal year of 2013 with more professionalism, integrity and dedication, the Ministry of Finance held an annual ministry meeting at the DCC on Friday, 11 January 2013 with the main agenda sharing information regarding the achievements during 2012 as well as the programs to be done in 2013, as depicted below.
Director General of Policy Analysis and Research Antonio Freitas briefly reported the achievements and programs of his directorate general comprising of Petroleum Fund, Macro economy, Statistics and MDGs.
Petroleum Fund Directorate, being part of a Working Group in the Ministry of Finance, contributed to the first amendment of the Petroleum Fund Law No.9/2005 as amended by Law No.12/2011. The amended Law was based on the “Generally Accepted Principles and Practices”, also known as the “Santiago Principles”. The new Law allows for greater flexibility in terms of diversifying the portfolio so as to increase investment returns in the future, in accordance with clear definitions of thresholds to risk exposition. The new investment rules stated that no more than 50% of the Fund may be invested in equities and no less than 50% should be invested in investment grade fixed income, and no more than 5% can be invested in alternative instruments. Since then Petroleum Fund allocation to developed market equities increased to 20% by June 2012 as a first stage and to 25% by December 2012 as the second stage in implementing a new investment policy. The Government is ready to accept the higher risk in order to pursue a higher average long-term return. In 2013 the directorate will try to harmonize data on the PF to facilitate investment analysis and will carry out workshops to disseminate the investment policy around PF.
DNE successfully organized and implemented Census 2010 and publicized its results in 2011, and a number of surveys including Demographic survey, labor force survey, business activity survey, household income expenditure survey, and published the TL National Account.
DNME successfully set up the macroeconomic framework to calculate the key macroeconomic indicators such as PDB, PDB percapita, inflation, short and medium term fiscal sustainability, etc. This directorate also contributed to implement the international conference in Dili on “Timor-Leste, joining ASEAN from an Economic Perspective”.
MDGs secretariat was able to set up focal point in each line ministry and established Steering Committee chaired by Minister of Finance, and also produced MDGs report that was presented by President José Ramos Horta in 2010 in New York. Some of the specific achievements in this report are MDGs indicators and targets regarding infant mortality rate tuberculosis treatment.
Director General of Revenues and Customs, Cancio de Oliveira specifically highlighted the achievements in the area of revenues, comparing between 2011 and 2012. He said that Petroleum revenues in 2011 were $1.331 Billion, and increased by 21.1% to $1.612 in 2012. While the domestic revenues collected were $31.75 M and increased to $43.22 M or 36% in 2012.
However his part found that certain regulations such as the “Investment law has provided room for exception in the implementation of taxattion law, thus inhibiting the DGRC staff to carry out their jobs accordingly.
Cancio identified that lack of qualified human resources, limited office space, and lack of transport facilities are major challenges for his staff to properly undertake their jobs.
As such, he recomended to have special incentives for staff working in the area of revenues collection in order to minimize risks of frauds. He also suggests the governemnt to involve legal officer in the contract elaboration between government and companies.
Director General of State Finance Antonio Freitas highlighted the major achievements of the directorate general of state finances including: i) one treasury single account and Closure of Bank Accounts; ii) 2) an integrated payroll system providing accountability (FMIS- FB); iii) Annual Audited Financial Statements and Bank Reconciliation; iv) Decentralization of financial powers, External Audit; v) Increase in the number of transactions; vi) Disbursement of pensions to the Elderly and Veterans; vii) Treasury Manual ; viii) FreeBalance provided the technology and infrastructure enabling all line ministries to connect securely to a centrally managed and supported FMIS solution; and FreeBalance repaired and activated the existing connectivity of the fiber optic and wi-max within the network that existed between 27 State Institutions located in Dili enabling access to the existing FreeBalance software hosted at MoF; ix) Budget Transparency Portal; x) eProcurement Portal; xi) Contract management module; xii) Automatic printing of Cheques and TPOs, Repaired and activated the existing network connectivity , etc.
Meanwhile the challenges facing DGSF are : lack of skilled staff versus the enormous jobs to be carried out; lack of operational cost/petty cash; lack of qualified staff for certain specific jobs and; career regime is not working properly.
Programs for 2013: i) socialization of OGE 2013 to districts; ii) analysis of OGE and preparing rectification budget for 2013; iii) strengthening of one single account; iv) treasury to cut off from any relationship with contractors; v) implementation of 3 days to finalize payment; vi) asset management and auction; vii) UNMIT assets distribution and auction.
Director General of Corporate Services Januario Gama informed that the achievements made by his directorate general were: i) recruitment of staff ( 217 people); ii) handling scholarships (Australia, Indonesia); iii) Taylor made course in collaboration with UNTL to improve the academic Qualification for MF staff; iv) preparation of AAP and OGE 2013; v) facilitate payment to treasury, so that the budget execution of MOF successfully reached 89%; vi) office rehabilitation and maintenance; vii) logistics and administrative support to other DGs within the ministry as well as other line ministries in several occasions of government activities; vii) IT update, etc.
Meanwhile the challenges are : lack of coordination/cooperation with other DGs and Directors of MOF; limited office space and limited qualified staff .
Januario recommended i) ) enhancing needs assessment in line with the principle of right man on the right place; ii) compliance with the procedures; iii) reward system for staff; iv) better coordination and cooperation between DGs within the ministry.
Director of Development Partnership Management Unit, DPMU (Formerly known as National Directorate of Aid Effectiveness), Jose Abilio, briefed on his agency achievements and challenges as outlined below.
In 2012, the DPMU registered a number of achievements. It successfully managed external assistance provided by development partners to Timor Leste, totaling $228.1M as grant assistance and opened the possibility for loans in Timor Leste for the first time. In the area o transparency, it saw the operationalization of Aid Transparency Portal (ATP), the comprehensive database on aid programs and the publication of Aid Transparency report in May and proposed the 2013 Budget Book N.5 in December using data from ATP. Additionally, other remarkable achievements are in the area of “g7+ Fragile States”. All major events were successfully executed, including (i) the High Level Side Event in NY in September, (ii) Meeting with the World Bank President in Tokyo in October, (iii) the g7+ Ministerial Meeting in Haiti in November, and (iv) the Steering Group Meeting in South Sudan in December. The Fragility Assessment was also successfully conducted as an important step of implementation of the “New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States (New Deal)” in Timor-Leste.
The major challenges of the DPMU in 2013 will be the formulation of a framework and mechanisms which will promote the implementation of development activities in accordance with the Government strategies; namely the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030, and with the principles of the “New Deal.” In order to accomplish its tasks, the DPMU will need to continue to focus on further strengthening its institutional capacity.
Director of Customs, Brigida da Silva (Customs directorate will be upgraded to be a new DG according to the organic law of MOF), informed that the Achievements made by her directorate are : i) 42 vehicles are seized according to DL N. 32/2011, and are ready to auction shortly; ii) application of ASYCUDA; iii) successful installation and operation of modern equipments including x-ray machines and IT and security systems (CCTV) in the border (Dili airport, Dili port, Batugade, Salele and Sakato); iv) in November 2012 customs staff captured and seized narcotics package in the Dili airport; v) language training (basic, intermediate and advanced ) by Canberra University to 80 customs staff; vi) successful recruitment of General Manager, IT coordinator and facility manager for Integrated border posts in Batugade, Salele and Sakato.
The Challenges are: limited space in the Dili Port which has affected equipments management specially x-ray operations; life insurance for staff in potentially risk areas, in particular those dealing with x-ray, customs patrol unit; legal defense for staff on duty services; living cost versus frauds potentials; career regime; incentives.
Vice Minister of Finance, Santina JRF Viegas Cardoso presented the “Policy on implementation of New Organic Law” that was approved by COM in September 2012. Accordingly, the MOF will be composed of 6 DGs and 6 Units. The new directorates general are: DG Statistics, DG Customs, and DG Treasury. The ministry is currently preparing the Diploma Ministerial to implement the organic law soon. Also the Task Analysis of the new DGs is on the process.
Vice Minister said that one specific change in this organic law is the breakdown of jobs/titles from director general to head of section as the lowest rank instead of head of department only, in the previous organic law.
Lastly Minister of Finance, Emilia Pires gave her presentation and guidance on the “Implementation of the MOF Strategic Plan in 2013”. Minister encouraged all MOF staff to familiarize with the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Finance 2011-2030, as the key document of the ministry for everybody.
Minister emphasized on the 5 strategic goals of the Plan: i) attain high quality and responsive PFM; ii) be proactive in identifying issues, challenges, risks and opportunities on beneficial changes; iii) be able to recruit and retain staff from among the top graduates in the areas of finance, economy and other relevant disciplines; iv) establish adequate systems as well as efficient and effective processes; v) adopt appropriate organizational structures and working conditions.
Minister reminded that some of the “Implications” of vision of achieving the Upper Middle Income Country in 2030 as set out in the national Strategic Development Plan (SDP), is to achieve the target of 11.2% of annual average growth over the next 10 years, and the non-oil domestic revenues have to be increased at an annual rate of 12% in order to allow reducing withdrawals in excess of ESI. To achieve this, the role of autonomous agencies has to be strengthened.
Meanwhile, the implications at the MOF level are that all staff are required to enhance their performance level achieved in the previous years, taking into consideration the 5 pillars: legal, systems and procedures, institutional, human resources and infrastructure.
The Priorities for 2013 are: Economic analysis; PPP, medium term macroeconomic analysis, tax reform, capacity building and OGE management and accountability.
Minister then reminded all staff to bear in mind that being staff of MOF now is a privilege, therefore she encouraged everybody to upgrade him/herself to contribute for the attainment of the goals as outlined above, otherwise substitution by more competent and potential people cannot be avoided for sake of the country.