The 2016 General State Budget (GSB) will benefit more people and contribute towards job creation, poverty reduction and inclusive and sustainable economic development through the development of priority areas such as education, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure, human resources and social assistance.
The Ministry of Finance, represented by H.E. Vice Minister of Finance, Mr. Helder Lopes and staff, participated and presented an “Overview of the 2016 GSB” to the Commission C of the National Parliament, which took place on Tuesday, the 10th November 2015.
In his opening remarks, the President of the Commission C, H.E. Mr. Virgílio Marçal, stated that the seminar is “one of the ways to understand the 2016 GSB”. He further added that the primary objective of the seminar is “to better understand the Government’s priorities for 2016” and “to honestly reflect its implications on the economy and fiscal sustainability”.
H.E. Vice Minister of Finance started his presentation stating that Timor-Leste, based on the Strategic Development Plan (SDP)’s timeline, is entering into the second phase of the national development, which covers the period of 2016-2020. The focus in this stage, he said, will be on “the continuation of the infrastructure and human resource development and improvement of economic competitiveness”. He further added that the 2016 GSB will continue to be based on five key principles namely the national priorities for 2016; budget execution capacity; fiscal sustainability; budget quality and the domestic economy’s absorptive capacity.
MOF’s staffs, in their presentations, also provided an overview of the macroeconomic development, budget execution, comparison between the 2015 and 2016 budgets, funding sources including the Petroleum Fund and key programs for 2016. The Government set the following to be the priorities for 2016 – education, health, agriculture and basic infrastructure (including clean water and sanitation, operation and maintenance). A total budget of $ 1.562 billion was proposed to finance these priorities.
The 2016 GSB will allocate about 70% to programs that “provide direct benefits to the people” and “contribute also towards job creation, poverty reduction and support inclusive and sustainable economic development through the development of infrastructure, human resource and social assistance”. The 2016 GSB will also “strengthen the public entities and autonomous agencies through implementation of the budget decentralization”.
The Government needs to invest to kick start the economy’s development. Quality public investment will help Timor-Leste journeying in its journey towards achieving its vision of “becoming an upper-middle income country by 2030”.