• OGE 2012 Debate- Day Nine- in Specialty, Thursday, 24 November 2011

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OGE 2012 Debate- Day Nine- in Specialty, Thursday, 24 November 2011

On the ninth day of the OGE debate in specialty today the plenary was chaired by the President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araujo, and attended by the Government Members, starting with discussions of the Budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery. 5 proposals were tabled for discussions, such as N. 116 (CD), N. 96  G&S), N. 139 (G&S and CM), N. 114 (CD), and N. 115 (CD). In the absence of the Prime Minister, today, in most of sessions today, Minister of Finance was in charge to represent the PM in providing policy answers (whenever necessary) to the inquiries of the MPs.

Good and Services, Transferences and Capital Minor

  1. Proposal N. 96, (G&S) by Brigida Correia and colleagues proposed to add as follows:

$65,000 to $172,000 in Good Services item, and $16,200 to 0, in public transferences.

The project aims to carry out a reforestation project in the area around the New Central Electrica (Hera and Betano), with the objective of anticipating and reducing negative impact of the carbon dioxide emission from this power plant as a contribution to the environment in the country.

  1. Proposal N. 139 (G&S), again by Brigida Correia proposed to add $45,000 to original budget of $448,000; and to add $155,000 to original budget of $8,000 in Capital Minor for vaccination of animals (veterinary ) and information dissemination to public.

 

Capital development (CD)

  1. Proposal N. 116, by Virginia Belo, proposed to eliminate the budget allocated for various activities in the MAF that seemed not disaggregated in the budget book in the amount of $3,515,000 to 0.   Virginia justified that she was not clear yet about the activities to be carried out with this money, given that MAF has spent lots of money but the results are not tangible. Otherwise, she suggested to leave it to next government given that the remaining time is only a few months to go.
  2. Proposal N. 114, by Gertrudes Moniz, proposed to create a new item in the amount of $2.7M for repair and study on the Karau-Ulun Irrigation system in Manufahi          . Justification: the irrigation can cover 1,200 Hectares and can also provide water to Ainaro district.

 

  1. Proposal N. 115, by Adriano Nascimento and Gertrudes Moniz,  proposed to create a new item/budget of $2.5 M for  construction of irrigation system in Raibere, Hatu-Udu (Ainaro), justifying that design and BOQ are ready.

 

Comments:

  • What is the value of reforestation if people continue to cut trees and there seems to be no solution to halt them cutting trees;
  • How many trees have been planted by MAFF, how many survived and how many failed? The bottom line is that the government should evaluate the reforestation programs, find influencing factors, and find solutions, not just planting and wasting money.
  • Which area this project will cover?
  • How can MAFF ensure that within a few months the project can be implemented?
  • The irrigation budget should be placed in the Infrastructure Funds, under the management of ADN.
  • Irrigation systems so far have failed to meet the quality standards; therefore government should evaluate and bring those people involved, in particular the designers and contractor to take the responsibility. People around the irrigation area have been suffering from the bad quality of all irrigations projects.

 

Minister Sabino responding to proposals and comments, said:

  • The budget for all state institutions including MAFF has undergone a long analysis and filtering process and complied with the fiscal envelope established by the government. Therefore he assured that any item in MAFF Budget stays within this plafond. However he acknowledged that in fact his ministry still has many gaps to be filled, therefore he appreciated these proposals. Specifically in response to the proposal n. 116, he said that the amount of $3, 515,000  will be utilized to finance a wide range of activities including; Irrigation Maliana II ($550,000), rehabilitation of technical school in Maliana ($800,000),agriculture  extension  in Ermera ($540,000), school fields in Oecusi (85,000), green house in Aileu (200,000).
  • The budget execution of MAFF obeys the regulations and government policies and has achieved success. For instance, the 2009 Budget execution is 90%, 2010, 97%, 2011 until now is 92%.
  • He assured that all data that are provided by the technical staff are accountable and precise because they were properly examined before giving it to Prime Minister.
  • The main role of MAF is to provide services to farmers; therefore reforms have been made to ensure that the services are geared to increase productivity, to achieve intensification, extensification and diversification of farming.
  • Maliana II was not rehabilitated because there were other priorities in other regions to be taken into consideration- for balance between regions.

 

Comments

  • MPs regretted the bad quality of irrigation system during the last 4 years. In particular, they advised not to fall in the same mistake, and not to waste a huge money for one project like Bebui irrigation that has absorbed around $11M but it never finished, and the irrigation of Karau-Ulun that is not functioning well and has caused lots of damages to population around the area.
  • Regarding farming, many seeds introduced by MAFF have been unsuccessful and farmers were abandoned without guidance;
  • Ultimately they said the reality is different from what the minister spoke about.

 

Before voting, Virginia cancelled her proposal N. 116 for elimination, as above.

Proposal N. 96, in favor, 44, against 1 and abstain 9- approved;

Proposal N. 114, in favor 38, against 6, and abstain 10; approved;

Proposal N. 139, in favor 45, against 1, abstain 8, approved;

Proposal N. 115, in favor  35, against 1, abstain 18, approved.

 

Then the Budget for Ministry of Agriculture was approved, in favor 42, against 1, and abstain 11.

 

Provedoria dos Direitos Humanos  e Justica ( Office of Ombudsman)-

Note:  according to the law in force, the independent agencies like Ombudsman, CAC, CFP, CNE and others are represented by  Government / /Minister of Finance in the budget debate.

 

There were 3 proposals for debate, n. 50, n. 51, and n. 87.

Proposal N. 50, by Fernanda Borges and Domingos M. proposed to add $68,000 to $519,000 for local travels, justifying that the agency will have to do monitoring and investigation of cases against human rights and justice, and importantly monitoring the general elections.

Proposal N. 51, also by Fernanda Borges proposed to add $20,000 to $519,000 for overseas travels to participate in the international conferences, given that Provedor is also a member of various human rights organizations in Asia Pacific and the world.

Comments

  • To what extent this amount of $20,000 can meet the needs of Provedor ? is it enough?
  • In doing monitoring to districts , the Provedor should take special attention to various kinds of  abuses to kids and women in various “accommodation /shelters” (uma mahon) throughout the country; and importantly to take concrete action in coordination with these special shelters.

 

Minister of Finance on behalf of government accepted the proposals and emphasized that so far the government has been always accepting the proposals from the autonomous agencies like provedor and others due to their specific roles and necessity.

 

The proposals were voted as follows:

Proposal N. 50, in favor 46, against 0, abstain 4, approved;

Proposal N. in favor 51, against 0, abstain 3, approved;

Proposal N. 47, in favor 47, against 0, abstain 3, approved.

Then the budget for Provedoria was approved, in favor 48, against 0 and abstain 2.

 

Comisssao de Anti Corrupcao (CAC)

3 proposals, 52, 53, and 42.

Proposal N. 52, (G&S) by Fernanda Borges proposed to add $40,000 to $7555,000 for overseas travel ;

Proposal N. 53 (G&S) , by Fernanda Borges proposed to add $29,000 to $755,000 for local travels;

Proposal N. 42 (CD), by Fernanda Borges, proposed to eliminate $800,000, that was allocated for office construction of CAC,  taking into account that as discussed earlier, any infrastructure project above $1 M, or a multiyear project has to be  put in the “Infrastructure Funds”. This budget is the initial budget for the multiyear project of CAC office construction.

Minister of Finance Emilia reiterated that she has no option to these proposals as stated above. Nevertheless, Minister Pires acknowledged that government is facing problem of land acquisition, due to very limited space in Dili. She agreed to be put in the IF.

The proposals were voted:

N. 42, in favor 47, against 0, abstain 3, approved ;

N. 52, in favor 47, against 0, abstain 3, approved ;

N. 53, in favor 47, against 0, abstain 3, approved.

The Budget for CAC was voted and also approved, in favor 47, against and abstain 3.

 

Comissao de Funcao Publica (Public Services Commission)

Only 1 proposal  N. 43, by Fernanda Borges, proposed to add $500,000 to $70,000 for establishment of Personnel Information Management System , a data base system that is able to cover public service systems in terms of recruitment, distribution, career system, pensions, etc. very importantly to avoid similar problem of “ghost/inexistent public servants” happening in the future.

Minister accepted the proposal and said that in fact the government has discussed this issue, and will provide a budget of $2. M in the future to meet the growing needs of CFP.

Voting:

Proposal N. 43, was approved with in favor 44, against 0, and abstain 6.

The Budget for CFP was voted and approved : in favor 46, against 0, and abstain 4.

 

Then the Budget for Servicos Publico Fusão de TL (RTTL), there was no proposal, and was voted and approved : in favor 43, against 1, and abstain 6.

 

Similarly, the budget for CNE (Comissao Nacional de Eleicoes) , was also voted and approved , in favor 44, against 0 and abstain 6.

 

Next the Annex II was voted and approved: in favor 36, against 11, and abstain 4.

 

Annex III was also voted and approved: in favor 37, against 7, and abstain 6.

 

Annex IV (Infrastructure Funds) , there were 14 proposals: 141, 54, 83, 85, 86, 89, 90, 111, 112, 118.

Proposal N. 141, proposed to reduce $1,335,000 from $4,184,000 for Bebui Irrigation,

Proposal N.54 (public buildings- $35,900,000)- by Fernanda Borges to add 800,000 for CAC office building, as a necessity;

Proposal N.85, (public buildings – $35,900,000)- by Fernanda Borges  , to add $700,000   for  construction of Kids Detention center; she said, it is important to have a separate detention center for better guidance, and avoid further problems for the kids;

Proposal N. 86, (public building – $35,900,000), by Fernanda Borges proposed to rehab Suai prison, in order to reduce burden on Becora prison;

Proposal N.89,(public buildings – $35,900,000), – cancelled

Proposal N.90,( public buildings – $35,900,000) – construction of land and property offices in 12 districts;

Proposal N.83, by Antonino Bianco proposed to reduce $5.5 M , from $9.5 M , as the first phase of MOF office building construction, a multiyear project that will absorb $35 M . Proponents justified that there is no law to regulate buildings in TL, hence a sky-building may not be necessary at this stage, given that  many people are still suffering from shortages, etc.

Proposal N.111, by Virginia to reduce $248,000 from $708,000;

Proposal N.112, by Virginia to use the N.111 reduction for the regional office in Same;

Proposal N.118, to add $2.5 M to $35,900,000 .

 

Comments:

N.85- Kids Detention center- it is necessary because there have been criticisms by many people that mixing up kids with adults in the same prison, greatly have bad impacts on the kids;

N. 86, Rehab Suai prison- important to avoid overload in Becora prison;

The chair asked the government /ministers to take notes and provide answers in tomorrow’s sessions.