Dili- The Fiscal Reform Commission (FRC) today announced its plans to strengthen integrity by reforming government institutions that deal with revenue collection to prevent and minimize incidences of corruption.
“We believe it is important to clearly state our agenda to bolster integrity from the beginning of the fiscal reform programme,” said Minister of Finance Santina Viegas-Cardoso. “As the reforms start to roll out, everyone needs to know that their contribution to the state, via the taxes and fees and charges they pay, will be protected. The government is taking important steps to ensure that the revenue from the people will go directly into the state’s coffers.”
Vice Minister of Finance Helder Lopes added that, “the people have to have faith that their hard earned tax dollars are going back into developing and investing in Timor-Leste. People will feel proud to pay tax if they see their money going to build schools and hospitals, roads and infrastructure.”
An important tool to strengthen integrity within revenue collecting bodies is information technology. “A robust anti-corruption law, a sound and efficient system of information technology, together with systems and procedures and capacity building are key anti-corruption components,” said Fernanda Borges, Coordinator of the Fiscal Reform Commission.
There have been previous initiatives to raise standards and integrity, most notably the cooperation between customs and the anti-corruption commission, KAK.
“I am pleased to strengthen the existing cooperation that KAK has with customs on anti-corruption prevention,” said KAK Commissioner, Aderito Tilman. “We will now work with the government to intensify this important work and through the reform process, put in better systems, and improve legal frameworks and procedures to be able to guarantee that customs officials will be able to exercise good governance. This will raise the confidence of the Timorese people in their state institutions.”
Commissioner Tilman added that he believed “the cooperation between the MoF and the FRC is an excellent sign that Timor-Leste is fighting corruption at all levels and implementing meaningful anti-corruption measures in civil service. KAK will also issue a preliminary recommendation on useful anti-corruption measures that can be included in the fiscal reform.”
“The government wishes to have clean and transparent agencies for collecting revenue and to ensure that this money is being collected for the well-being of Timorese people,” said Minister Viegas-Cardoso.
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