Dili, Timor-Leste – on Tuesday, 13 of April 2021, the Minister of Finance, Rui Gomes hosted a Bilateral Meeting with the Regional Vice-President of World Bank for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, the Executive Directors and other senior members of the World Bank Group. It was an introductory meeting where Minister Gomes shared information on the current Timor-Leste’s economic situation, recent natural disaster caused by tropical cyclone Seroja, which have resulted to flooding and landslides, Government’s disaster recovery and the economic recovery plan as well as Covid-19 vaccination roll out.
The discussion centered on a number of important issues such as Food Security, Nutrition, Early Childhood Development, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture and Tourism. The latter two sectors were viewed as potential for economic diversification. However, these sectors have not been developed properly in the past decades.
Regarding the World Bank’s response to Covid-19, Vice President Victoria said the Bank is currently preparing two grant packages (US$ 3 million each) for Timor-Leste to be considered. She also suggested to the Ministry of Finance team to tap into the Project’s Emergency Responses Component which could allow the Government to have access to the Project resources. These resources can be allocated to the Government’s disaster response initiatives.
On the same occasion, Vice President Victoria also took the opportunity to inform and request the Ministry of Finance team on few projects financed through loans, for which the implementation processes have been delayed over the past few years. Minister Rui Gomes replied that the issue would be discussed with the relevant line ministries to expedite the process.
During the meeting, the Vice-President of IFC for Asia and Pacific, Alfonso Garcia Mora briefly touched upon the private sector’s engagement in the economic development and the relevant legislations applied in Timor-Leste particularly on the Private Investment Law no 15/2017 of the 23 of August, which may require an amendment. This will make the country more attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI). To this end, the relevant team from the Ministry of Finance is prepared to liaise, if and when requested, with the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs.
At the meeting, Vice President Victoria also informed that the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group is currently in the early stages of preparing few new projects namely the Aviation Safety, Water Supply and Tourism projects and requested the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the relevant line ministries to get their final confirmations on these projects. The Ministry of Finance team agreed to coordinate with the relevant line ministries such as the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, Ministry of Public Work through Bee Timor-Leste E.P and the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry.
Accompanying Minister Rui Gomes in this virtual meeting, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Finance, Jo Monteiro, the Director General of the External Resources Management and Mobilization, António Freitas, and the National Director of the External Resources Management and Mobilization, Elson Martinho da Costa.