23 December 2014

Sadly, TL government blocks IMF Report

Timor-Leste’s Government has prevented the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from publishing its 2014 “Article IV Consultation” report on Timor-Leste. Because of irresolvable disagreement over the report’s content, the Government decided not to allow the release of the report this year.  La’o Hamutuk is saddened by this decision, as we believe that information from a variety of viewpoints is essential to developing sustainable, equitable economic and fiscal policies.

These reports, around 55-70 pages, usually contain a Staff Report, an Informational Annex and a Debt Sustainability Analysis. Many governments request changes to draft reports, and the IMF often incorporates them, as well as “Authorities’ views” setting our the government’s perspective. However, the IMF will not publish a report or press release about an Article IV Consultation without the Government’s consent. In 2013, 99% of countries agreed to publish a press release, and around 90%, including Timor-Leste, agreed to publish the detailed report.

IMF Article IV reports on Timor-Leste were published for 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003, and 2014 was the first time the government did not consent.

La’o Hamutuk does not always agree with the IMF, particularly regarding economic justice, borrowing and the role of the private sector. However, these reports are an important contribution toward understanding Timor-Leste’s economy, and we are disappointed that the public, including ourselves, have not been able to read the latest one.

The information in the IMF's October press release which summarizes the suppressed report needs deeper elaboration and thought. It mentions dependency on declining oil reserves, excessive government spending, slow private sector growth, more thought needed for special economic zones, the shortage of good data and other issues.

Read more at http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/IMF/14TLblocksIMF.htm.

04 November 2014

Discussion tomorrow on Poverty & Economic Development

Please join Monash University researchers, La'o Hamutuk, government and ADB representatives for a discussion on Poverty and Timor-Leste's Economic Development Strategy

Wednesday, 5 November 9:30-12:30 at Hotel Excelsior.

Update: Download the presentations from this workshop from
Bele hetan aprezentasaun sira husi seminariu ida nee husi:

17 July 2014

TL e a CPLP não deviam acolher um ditador corrupto

Líderes dos países de língua portuguesa reúnem-se em Dili para a X Cimeira de Chefes de Estado e de Governo da Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP). Um dos items mais importantes e mais controversos da sua agenda será a adesão da Guiné-Equatorial como membro permanente da CPLP.

Em Dili tem-se discutido muito as preparações para as visitas destes VIP – construção urgente generalizada e alto volume de despesa – mas a La'o Hamutuk propõe que se preste mais atenção ao que se vai passar na própria Cimeira. Ontem a La'o Hamutuk e muitos outros timorenses preocupados com os Direitos Humanos enviaram uma Carta Aberta (original em tetum ou English) ao Presidente da República Taur Matan Ruak e a outros dirigentes timorenses, lembrando-os de que “muitas pessoas não concordam com esta adesão da Guiné-Equatorial, uma nação não-falante de português” e pedindo-lhes que a Cimeira “não ratifique esta adesão ou que, no mínimo, a torne condicionada à existência de melhorias significativas na área dos direitos humanos e da redução da corrupção.”

1995: protestos contra a visita de Suharto à cidade de Nova Iorque.
Durante a ocupação de Timor-Leste pela ditadura brutal e corrupta de Suharto, amigos em todo o mundo protestavam sempre que Suharto visitava os seus países. Em conjunto com os líderes de muitos países de língua portuguesa, fizeram-se campanhas para isolar o regime indonésio da legitimidade internacional. Acreditamos que o povo da Guiné-Equatorial tem direito ao mesmo tipo de apoio na sua luta contra o regime que os tem governado nos últimos 35 anos.

A La'o Hamutuk colocou uma página no seu site com a nossa Carta Aberta e outros materiais de referência. As principais razões pelas quais pensamos que Timor-Leste e a CPLP não deveriam acolher este ditador no nosso país e na nossa comunidade são as seguintes:
  • Não existência de democracia, violação permanente de direitos humanos, incluindo mortes
  • Limitação da liberdade de imprensa e da possibilidade de os cidadãos expressarem as suas opiniões
  • Pobreza generalizada num país que é um dos países africanos com maior riqueza petrolífera
  • Inexistência de transparência sobre finanças governamentais
  • Um dos regimes mais corruptos do mundo.
A Guiné-Equatorial tem menos população, mais petróleo e maior pobreza do que Timor-Leste, e é um caso exemplar de “maldição dos recursos”. Ainda assim, o ditador Teodoro Obiang vai trazer com ele 80 pessoas para a Cimeira da CPLP. Foi-nos explicado que o seu avião é grande demais para poder aterrar em Dili, razão pela qual terá de alugar dois aviões mais pequenos em Singapura.
A Constituição de Timor-Leste determina que a RDTL estenderá a sua solidariedade a todos os povos do mundo na sua luta pela libertação nacional mas os Estatutos da CPLP dizem que um Estado membro não pode “interferir” nos assuntos internos de outros membros. Se Timor-Leste e a CPLP aceitarem a Guiné-Equatorial como membro, estarão a abandonar o seu compromisso com os direitos humanos do povo deste país.




16 July 2014

Timor-Leste no CPLP labele simu ditadór korruptu

Lider lusofon halibur malu iha Dili ba Simeira ba dala sanulu Xefe Estadu no Governu komunidade nasaun ne’ebé ko’alia lian Portuguese (CPLP). Asuntu ida ne’ebé importante tebes no kontrovérsial iha sira nia ajenda mak simu Gine Equatorial nudár membru permanente ba CPLP.

Ema sira ne’ebé hela iha Dili preokupa barak ba preparasaun atu simu bainaka espesiál sira -- halo konstrusaun emerjénsia barak no despeza ne’ebé as, La'o Hamutuk hanoin katak importante mós atu konsidera konferénsia ida ne'e rasik. Horisehik La’o Hamutuk ho Timor-oan lubuk ne’ebé preokupa ba direitus umanus haruka karta aberta (Ingles ka Portuges) ida ba Prezidente Taur Matan Ruak no leader RDTL sira seluk, hodi fó hanoin ba sira katak “iha ema barak la konkorda adesaun Gine Equatorial, nasaun ida ne’ebé la ko’alia lian Portuguese hodi sai membru CPLP” no husu ba konferénsia ne’e atu “labele ratifika adesaun ida ne’e, ka mínimu halo desizaun ne’e kondisionál atu hadi’a direitus umanus no hamenus korrupsaun.

1995: protesta vizita Suharto ba Sidade Nova Iorke
Durante ditadór Suharto nia okupasaun ne’ebé brutal, korruptu iha Timor-Leste, maluk barak iha mundu tomak, protesta bainhira Suharto ba vizita sira nia nasaun. Hamutuk ho lider hosi nasaun sira ne’ebé ko’alia lian Portuguese, sira halo kampaña atu izola nia rejime hosi lejitimidade internasionál. Ami fiar katak povu iha Gine Equatorial merese hetan suporta ne’ebé hanesan, tanba sira nia luta iha rejime ne’e nia okos ne’ebé ukun ona sira ba tinan 35.

La’o Hamutuk publika ona pájina ida iha ami nia website ho ami nia karta no material referénsia sira. Asuntu sira tuir mai ne’e mak sai razaun forte ne’ebé ami hanoin katak Timor-Leste no CPLP labele simu ditadór ida ne’e ba iha ita nia nasaun no ita nia komunidade:
  • Laiha demokrasia no iha violasaun barak ba direitus umanus, inklui oho ema
  • Liberdade imprensa ne’ebé uitoan ka espasu uitoan de’it ba ema atu espresa sira nia hanoin
  • Pobreza ne’ebé maka’as iha nasaun Áfrika ida ne’ebé riku liu ho mina-rai
  • Laiha transparénsia ba finansa governu nian
  • Rejime ida ne’ebé korruptu liu iha mundu
Gine Equatorial iha ema uitoan, mina-rai barak no pobreza ne’ebé maka’as liu kompara ho Timor-Leste, no hare ba nudár livru lisaun ida hosi kazu “malisan rekursu.” Maski nune’e, Ditadór Teodoro Obiang lori nia ema na’in 80 atu mai ho nia ba Simeira CPLP. Ami rona katak nia aviaun ne’e boot demais atu bele tun iha Dili, nune’e sira aluga aviaun rua hosi Singapore.

Konstituisaun RDTL hateten katak RDTL sei fó solidáriu ho povu hotu-hotu ne’ebé luta ba libertasaun nasionál, maibé Estatutu CPLP hateten katak membru sira sei labele “interfere” iha asuntu internal membru seluk nian. Karik Timor-Leste no CPLP simu Gine Equatorial nudár membru ida, ita abandona ona ita nia kometimentu ba direitus umanus povu sira ne’ebé moris iha ne’ebá.

TL and CPLP should not welcome a corrupt dictator

Portuguese-speaking leaders are gathering in Dili for the Tenth Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP). One of the most important and controversial items on their agenda is the acceptance of Equatorial Guinea as a full member of CPLP.

Dili residents are talking a lot about the preparations for the VIP visitors -- widespread emergency construction and high spending -- but La'o Hamutuk thinks we should also pay attention to what will happen at the Summit itself. Yesterday, La'o Hamutuk and many other Timorese concerned about human rights sent an open letter (Tetum original or Portuguese translation) to President Taur Matan Ruak and other RDTL leaders, reminding them that "many people do not agree that Equatorial Guinea, a non-Portuguese-speaking nation, should join CPLP" and asking the Summit "not to approve this accession or at least to make it conditional on significant improvement in human rights and reducing corruption."

1995: protesting Suharto's visit to New York City.
During the Suharto dictatorship's brutal, corrupt occupation of Timor-Leste, friends around the world protested when Suharto visited their countries. Together with the leaders of many Portuguese-speaking countries, they campaigned to isolate his regime from international legitimacy. We believe that the people of Equatorial Guinea deserve the same support, as they struggle under the regime which has ruled them for 35 years.

La'o Hamutuk has posted a page on our website with our letter and reference materials. The following are the main reasons we think Timor-Leste and CPLP should not welcome this dictator to our country and community:
  • No democracy and many human rights violations, including killings
  • Little freedom of the press or tolerance of people expressing their views
  • Widespread poverty in one of Africa's most oil-rich countries
  • No transparency about government finances
  • One of the most corrupt regimes in the world.
Equatorial Guinea has fewer people, more oil, and deeper poverty than Timor-Leste, and is seen as the textbook case of the 'resource curse.' However, Dictator Teodoro Obiang is bringing 80 people here with him to the CPLP Summit. We have been told that his plane is too large to land in Dili, so they are chartering two planes from Singapore.

Timor-Leste's Constitution says that RDTL will extend solidarity to people around the world who struggle for national liberation, but the CPLP Statutes say that members cannot "interfere" in the internal affairs of other members. If Timor-Leste and CPLP accept Equatorial Guinea as a member, we abandon our commitment to the human rights of the people who live there.




04 July 2014

New La'o Hamutuk page on Oecusse Special Economic Zone


La'o Hamutuk has just published the first edition of an extensive web page on the Special Zone for Social Market Economy planned for Oecusse. The page, in both English and Tetum, contains many graphics, documents, links and videos.  It will be updated and revised as we obtain more information.  The main topics are:
  • Aiming high - the project's dreams and goals
  • Many Timor-Leste laws don't apply - autonomy and unelected governance
  • Consulting the public - or the lack thereof, especially for women
  • Spending and/or investment - $1 million in 2013, $23m in 2014, $4 billion more in future
  • Documents, laws, videos, plans and other resources

25 June 2014

Nauk ona husi Timor-Leste

La’o Hamutuk fó ona avizu ba tinan barak nia laran katak riku soin petróleu Timor-Leste, bainhira hare hosi kuak iha ita nia sistema jestaun no nivel esperiénsia no kapasidade ne’ebé limitadu, Timor-Leste sai tiha alvu atu nauk. Kriminozu sira iha mundu tomak laran monu tanba Timor-Leste gasta dolar biliaun kada tinan, no sira kaben turu ba ita nia biliaun $16 iha Fundu Petrolíferu. Ohin loron, ami nia ta’uk sai tiha realidade.

Ofisiais FBI nian iha EUA kaer ona cidadaun EUA ne’ebé moris iha Nigeria Bobby Boye kinta-feira liu ba, akuza nia ho krime hitu ne’ebé involve nauk osan liu tokon $3.5 hosi Povu Timor-Leste.

Boye mai Timor-Leste iha 2010 nudár parte ida hosi programa asisténsia hosi Noruega iha Setór Petróleu ho valor tokon $ 4 ba programa tinan hat nian ne’ebé hotu iha 2012, no nia servisu nudár assessor iha Diresaun Nasionál ba Reseita Petróleu iha Ministériu Finansas to’o tinan kotuk. Tuir FBI, Boye kria kompañia legal falsu ida iha New York no uza kompañia ne’e atu hetan kontratu ho valor tokon $7.8 hosi Ministériu Finansa Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste la hatene katak “Opus & Best” nudár kompañia ne’ebé la eziste ka Boye mak iha kompañia ida ne’e nia kotuk. Aliende ne'e, Timor-Leste seidauk hatene kona-ba nia istoria tinan sanulu hanesan bosok-teen, koruptor, na'ok-teen, no kriminoso.

Ofisiais Timor-Leste nian hahú deskonfia hafoin halo pagamentu liu tokon $3.5 ba Boye nia kompañia falsu ida ne’e durante 2012. Ema hateten ami katak hafoin ne’e, Timor-Leste nia ofisiais sira servisu hamutuk ho FBI EUA, Ministériu Negósiu Estranjeiru Noruega no dala ruma ema seluk tan, atu dezenvolve kazu kontra Boye.

Tuir FBI nia dokumentu legal katak, Boye gasta osan sira ne’ebé nia nauk ne’e atu sosa rai pedasuk haat iha New Jersey, karreta luxu tolu (inklui Rolls Royce no Bentley) no sasán sira seluk tan. Karik provadu sala ho alegasaun tomak, Boye bele hetan pena prizaun ba tinan 140, ho multa dolar tokon balu, no tenke selu fali osan ne’ebé nia hetan hosi nauk ne’e.

La’o Hamutuk iha informasaun no dokumentu kona-ba nia kazu ida ne’e iha ami nia pájina web, ne’ebé sei atualiza bainhira ami hetan tan informasaun.

Bobby Boye dudu Governu Timor-Leste atu akuza ConocoPhillips no kompañia mina-rai sira seluk ne’ebé lohi atu selu sira nia taxa ba Timor-Leste, lori kazu lubuk liu sanulu resin rua hodi kontra sira ho valor rihun tokon dollar. Kompañia sira selu osan sira ne’e maibé nafatin protesta atu selu hodi hanoin atu evita atu selu barak liu tan multa, nune’e sira lori kazu ba arbitrajen. Kazu barak hosi ne’e agora iha ona painél arbitrajen nia oin iha Singapore, ne’ebé sei deside servisu Boye nian iha Timor-Leste ne’e lejítimu ka lae.
Aleinde hetan saláriu hosi Noriega no osan ne’ebé nia hetan hosi nauk nian (fraude), Boye mós saláriu rihun $250 hosi Fundu Kontinjénsia hosi Governu Timor-Leste durante 2011, ne’ebé halo nia nudár ema ida ne’ebé hetan saláriu ida ne’ebé as liu iha rai ida ne’e. Bainhira ami hakarak atu hatene asuntu ida ne’e iha fulan Novembru 2012, La’o Hamutuk husu ba Boye buat ne’e, no nia hatán:
“Primeiru Ministru Timor-Leste ho rekomendasaun hosi Vice Ministru Finansa, DG Reseita no Alfándega no Diretór Nasionál ba Diresaun Nasionál Reseita Petróleu nian aprova kompensasaun adisionál ba ha’u bazeia ba ha’u nia dezempeñu. Kontratu servisu ho Norwegia (ne’ebé hakotu ona) la impede kompensasaun adisionál ne’ebé ha’u hetan hosi Governu Timor-Leste ba servisu ne’ebé ha’u halo durante kalendáriu 2011. Atu simu ida ne’e ka lae, daudauk ne’e labele debate. ...
   “Atu hateten loloos katak ema ne’ebé hakarak atu husu pergunta tenke la’o ba oin no halo ida ne’e maibé ha’u sei enkoraja sira atu mós hare ba rezultadu servisu ne’ebé ha’u halo iha ne’e. Aleinde hosi buat la'os tanjivel seluk hanesan hasa’e kapasidade, estrutura iha Diresaun Nasionál Reseita Petróleu, ha’u lori duni ona liu tokon $300 reseita adisionál ba TL liu hosi esforsu mesak ne’ebé la’ós de’it atu ke’e de’it ida iha leten maibé atu konsidera saida mak iha ba kadoras ba TL.

   “Ha’u gasta maizumenus oras 14 ba loron ida, loron hitu iha semana ida ba saida mak ha’u halo iha ne’e. Ha’u nia talentu ne’e fasil atu lori ba mai no karik ema ruma iha Governu laran ka hosi li’ur hanoin katak ha’u hetan pagamentu ida ne’ebé barak liu, ha’u prefere liu atu sai lalais liu, hodi nune’e sira bele buka ema seluk ne’ebé baratu liu atu troka ha’u.”
Ami la duvida katak Boye servisu maka’as duni – aléinde ba nia servisu nudár assessor ida, nia mós sub-subar halo servisu tomak ba kompañia falsu ida (ka maizumenus nato’on atu fó atensaun hodi la hatudu nia an). No nia sai lalais bainhira ema hahú husu pergunta sira .... maibé hare ba nia la nato’on lalais hodi evita polisia EUA sira.

Ami buka atu aprende liu tan kona-ba kazu Boye, no preokupa hela karik iha ema EUA seluk ka Timor oan balu involve iha kazu ne’e. Timor-Leste tenke sente sorte katak Boye foti de’it tokon $4 hosi ita (maizumenus hanesan ho despeza mensal Ministériu Saúde nian). Uza kazu ne’e nudár lisaun ba ukun na’in sira, sidadaun no ema hotu ne’ebé fiar katak Timor-Leste nia riku-soin limitadu ne’ebé tenke uza atu hadi’ak moris ita nia povu sira.

Autoridade EUA nia hateten katak nia iha tinan 50, aas 190 cm, todan 96kg, nia fuuk metan no nia matan moreno.

Atualiza loron 6 Outubru: Iha loron 20 Juñu, loron ida hafoin FBI kaptura Bobby Boye, juiz ida fó liberdade kondisionál (TIR) ba nia hafoin diskusaun minutu sanulu iha tribunal. Boye promete nia uma (liman los) hanesan garantia ho valor tokon dolar $1.5.

Iha loron 2 Jullu, juiz ida adia prosesu iha tribunal to’o loron 22 Agosto atu fó tempu ba Boye nia advogadu no Ministériu Públiku atu hetan akordu (admite ba krime ki’ik liu) at kansela julgamentu "atu servi interese justisa."  Iha fulan Agosto, juiz adia prosesu liu tan, to'o loron 22 Outubru.

Bele hetan informasaun detalladu liu iha website La'o Hamutuk nian.

23 June 2014

Timor-Leste has been robbed!

In April 2015, Boye admitted guilt to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. More here.
Updated 25 August; see below.  On 16 September, LH published an extensive webpage on this case.
La'o Hamutuk has warned for years that Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth, when viewed through the cracks in our  management systems and limited levels of experience and capacity, makes us a tempting target, Criminals from all over the world are enticed by the billion dollars Timor-Leste spends each year, and drool over our $16 billion Petroleum Fund. Our fears have now been confirmed.

FBI officials in the USA arrested Nigerian-born U.S. citizen Bobby Boye last Thursday, charging him with seven crimes involving the theft of more than $3.5 million from Timor-Leste's people.

Boye came to Timor-Leste in 2010 as part of Norway's assistance program in the Petroleum Sector, a $4 million, four-year program that finished in 2012, and he  worked as an adviser in the National Directorate for Petroleum Revenue in the Ministry of Finance until last year. According to the FBI, Boye created a fake law firm in New York and arranged for it to get $7.8 million in contracts from Timor-Leste's Ministry of Finance. Timor-Leste was unaware that the "Opus & Best" company didn't exist or that Boye was behind it.

RDTL officials became suspicious only after paying more than $3.5 million to Boye's fake company during 2012. We were told that they then worked with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and perhaps others, to develop the case against Boye.

According to the FBI's legal filing, Boye spent his ill-gotten gains on four pieces of land in New Jersey, three luxury cars (including a Rolls Royce and a Bentley) and other items. If convicted on all charges, Boye could be imprisoned for 140 years, fined several million dollars, and ordered to repay the money he obtained by fraud.

La'o Hamutuk has information and documents about this case on our web page on back petroleum taxes, which will be updated as we learn more.

Bobby Boye pushed Timor-Leste's government to accuse ConocoPhillips and other oil companies of cheating on their taxes to Timor-Leste, leading to dozens of cases against them totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. The companies paid under protest in order to avoid escalating penalties while appealing. Many of these cases are currently before an arbitration panel in Singapore, which will decide whether this part of Boye's work in Timor-Leste was legitimate.

In addition to his salary from Norway and the money he obtained by fraud, Boye received a $250,000 salary from the Timor-Leste Government's Contingency Fund during 2011, which probably made him the highest paid person in the country.  When we learned of this in November 2012, La'o Hamutuk asked Boye about it, and he replied:
"The Timor-Leste Prime Minister upon recommendation from the then Vice Minister of Finance, DG Revenue & Customs and the National Director of NDPR approved additional compensation for me based on my performance. The employment contract with Norway (now terminated) did not preclude the additional compensation that I received from the TL Government for the services that I rendered during the 2011 calendar year. Whether I am entitled to it or have earned is beyond debate. ...
   "Quite frankly the people that want to ask questions should go ahead and do so but I will encourage them to also look at the results of what I am doing here. Aside from other intangibles like capacity building, structure at NDPR, I have literally brought in over $300 million of additional revenue to TL through solo efforts and that is a mere scratch on the surface-considering what is in the pipeline for TL.
  "I spend an average of 14 hours a day, 7 days a week on what I do here. My talent is portable and if anybody thinks in and out government that I am paid too much, I am more than willing to move on-fairly quickly, so that they can get a cheap replacement."
We don't doubt that Boye worked hard -- in addition to his job as an adviser, he was secretly doing the work of an entire law firm (or at least enough to keep up appearances). And he did move on fairly quickly once people started asking questions ... but apparently not quickly enough to stay ahead of the feds.

We look forward to learning more about the Boye case, and wonder if other U.S. or Timorese people were involved. Timor-Leste should feel lucky that Boye only took us for around $4 million (about as much as the Ministry of Health spends each month). Let this be a lesson for officials, citizens, and everyone who believes that Timor-Leste's finite petroleum wealth should be used to improve the lives of its people.

U.S. authorities say Bobby Boye is 50 years old, 6'3" (190 cm) tall, weighs 211 pounds (96 kg), and has black hair and brown eyes.

Update, 6 July: On 20 June, the day after Bobby Boye was arrested, a judge granted him conditional pre-trial release (TIR) after a 10-minute court appearance. Boye offered his home (right) to guarantee the $1.5 million dollar bond.

On 2 July, a judge suspended proceedings in the case until 22 August to allow Boye's attorneys and federal prosecutors time to negotiate a plea bargain "in the interests of justice."

Update, 23 August: On 21 July, La'o Hamutuk wrote to the prosecutor, urging her to take the case to trial in order to reveal more information about possible violations of Timor-Leste and Norwegian law, as well as who may have conspired with Boye.

On 12 August, the judge extended the suspension of proceeding for 60 days more, until 22 October, because "both the United States and the defendant desire additional time to negotiate a plea agreement, which would render any grand jury proceedings and any subsequent trial of this matter unnecessary."

On 23 August the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten published a long article "(Norway's) Finance Department sends swindler to help Timor-Leste" detailing Boye's long criminal record and the sloppy procedures by which Norway hired him to work in Timor-Leste. Aftenpposten published a shorter English version two days later.

More information is on La'o Hamutuk's website.

18 June 2014

To’o bainhira Fundu Petrolíferu sei lori Timor-Leste?

Ami foin publika kapitulu akademiku ida ne'e iha Tetum.  Bele hetan iha artigu tomak iha ne'e, ka English version here.

Abstratu

Daudauk ne’e petróleu no gas fornese liu 95% reseita estadu no kuatru-kintu (4/5) hosi Timor-Leste nia GDP. Rendimentu hosi esportasaun riku-soin naun renovavel petróleu kanaliza liu ba Fundu Petróleu ne’ebé iha ona billaun $15. Iha espetasaun lubuk katak saldu no lukru investimentu Fundu Petróleu nian sei selu atividade estadu nian hafoin kampu petróleu no gas maran ona, ne’ebé bele akontese iha 2020 karik projetu Greater Sunrise kontinua la ba oin. Infelizmente, Fundu Petróleu bele maran iha tinan lima tan hafoin tempu ne’ebá.

Papél ida ne’e deskreve modelu ida atu halo projesaun to’o bainhira loos Fundu Petrolíferu bele finansia atividade estadu nian. Modelu ne’e inkorpora dadus istóriku no projesaun nian, inklui despeza rekurrente no kapitál, reseita doméstika, empréstimu no nia tusan, rendimentu petróleu, no retornu investimentu hosi Fundu Petróleu. Modelu ne’e fó lisensa atu muda parametru no mós atu antisipa presu mina iha merkadu, taxa de jurus no opsaun ba dezenvolve Sunrise.

Probabilidade katak Fundu Petróleu bele hotu iha dékada ida nia laran fó sinál urjente ba ita atu dezenvolve ekonomia naun-petróleu Timor-Leste, aumenta reseita doméstiku no uza fundu públiku nian ho matenek.

04 June 2014

Konvite ba diskusaun Orsamentu Estadu 2015 no Sustentabilidade Fiskál

Foin daudauk ne’e, Governu hala’o ona sira nia workshop “Yellow Road” internal atu diskute planu orsamentál ba tinan fiskál 2015. La’o Hamutuk hanoin katak importante tebes mós ba públiku tomak atu bele iha informasaun ne’ebé nato’on kona-ba sá polítika fiskál ba 2015 ne’ebé  deside ona atu halo ba Timor-Leste nia futuru. Tanba ne’e, ami konvida ita-boot sira atu bele partisipa iha Enkontru Públiku ho tema Orsamentu Estadu 2015 no Sustentabilidade Fiskál ne’ebé realiza iha:

Loron    : Kuarta Feira, 11 Juñu 2014
Oras       : 08.45-12.00
Fatin      : Aula Asosiasaun HAK, Farol, Dili


08:45    Rejistrasaun   
09:00    Introdusaun 
09:15    Aprezentasaun Panorama Ekonomiku no Politika Fiskal Timor-Leste (mos PDF)             husi Helder Lopes, Koordenador Politika Ekonomia, Ministériu Finansa
09:50    Aprezentasaun Sustentabilidade Fiskál ba Timor-Leste (mos PDF)

             husi Charles Scheiner, Peskizadór, La’o Hamutuk
10:25    Diskusaun  
12:00    Enserramentu  
Ita bele hetan aprezentasaun no PDF rua husi enkontru ida ne'e husi ligasaun iha leten ka iha ne'e.

02 June 2014

Can the Petroleum Fund Exorcise the Resource Curse from Timor-Leste?

This blog was updated on 27 February 2015
La'o Hamutuk recently circulated a referenced academic paper which describes the resource curse in Timor-Leste and, sadly, concludes that the Petroleum Fund is inadequate to keep the nation from falling into dire poverty in less than 20 years. Read the September 2014 paper on-line or download the February 2015 update of the paper as a PDF

Australian National University published a two-page "In Brief" summary of this paper in July 2014, and Timor-Leste's Ministry of Finance issued an eight-page response a few weeks later. We hope they will give similar attention to the completed, updated paper.

Contents

  •   Oil swamps the economy.
  •   Oil fuels the state machinery.
  •   The Sovereign Wealth Fund saves petroleum revenues.
  •   Spending grows quickly, but not always wisely.
  •   The resource curse has many faces.
  •   This petro-state doesn’t have much petrol.
  •   There isn't much time.
  •   Notes
  •   References and bibliography

Abstract

Oil and gas exports provide about 95% of state revenues and three-fourths of GDP, making Timor-Leste one of the most petroleum-dependent countries in the world. Although this fuelled double-digit GDP growth from 2007 through 2011, poverty and inequality are increasing. Current development plans are unlikely to rescue Timor-Leste’s people from the resource curse which distorts planning, governance, decision-making and politics, leading to neglect of non-petroleum investments, especially agriculture and human resources.
Income from exporting non-renewable petroleum wealth is channeled through a Petroleum Fund which contains US$17 billion. Although Timor-Leste’s currently active oil and gas fields may be dry by 2020, many believe that earnings from Petroleum Fund investments will continue to pay for state activities. Unfortunately, La’o Hamutuk’s model shows that the Petroleum Fund may be empty within five years after that.
The prospect that the Petroleum Fund could be gone in a decade underscores the urgency to develop Timor-Leste’s non-oil economy, increase domestic revenue and use public funds wisely. The Petroleum Fund may have created an illusion of economic security that allowed avoiding difficult decisions and challenging tasks.

30 May 2014

LH ba Prezidente TMR: Favor veto Lei Komunikasaun Sosiál

Iha loron 6 Maiu 2014, Parlamentu Nasionál aprova ona Lei Komunikasaun Sosiál ne’ebé sei limita diretu Konstitusional ba liberdade espresaun no imprensa. Liu semana tolu ona. Parlamentu seidauk haruka ba Prezidente Taur Matan Ruak, ne’ebé sei iha loron 30 atu promulga ka veto lei ne’e bainhira nia simu ona.

Iha 29 Maiu, Lao Hamutuk no organizasaun sira seluk husu ba Prezidente atu veto lei, “tanba Lei ne’e sei estraga demokrasia no direitus umanu, esklui ema barak nia direitu ba liberdade espresaun, fó de’it podér ba grupu ida de’it atu fó lisensa ba ema balu no limita ema seluk atu fahe informasaun. Ami konsidera ida ne’e viola Konstituisaun no Konvensaun Internasionál ba Direitu Sivíl no Polítika."

Karta ne’e iha Tetum no Ingles, no mós informasaun no analiza sira bele hare online iha internet. Tuir mai rezumu hosi karta.

LH to President TMR: Please Veto Media Law

On 6 May, Timor-Leste's Parliament passed a law which would severely restrict Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and of the press. More than three weeks later, they have not yet sent the law to President Taur Matan Ruak, who will have 30 days to sign or veto the law when he receives it.

On 29 May, La'o Hamutuk and other organizations urged the President to veto the law, "because it will harm democracy and human rights, restrict many people's rights to freedom of expression, and give power to a single group to issue a few licenses while limiting other people's rights to share information. We believe this violates Timor-Leste’s Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

Update: On 25 June, 50 days after they passed it, Parliament sent the proposed media law to President Taur Matan Ruak, who has to decide whether to sign or veto it. Download the latest version here.  On 14 July, TMR asked the Court of Appeals to give him an advisory opinion on whether it is Constitutional. On 11 August, the Court advised the President that several articles of the proposed law did indeed violate Timor-Leste's Constitution, and he transmitted their opinion to Parliament on 19 August.  More detailed and updated information is on La'o Hamutuk's website.

The civil society letter is online in Tetum or English translation, as well as information and analysis. The following is abridged from the letter:

14 May 2014

Mai Selebra Hamutuk / Come Celebrate Together

Ami kontente tebes se kolega sira bele mai partisipa La’o Hamutuk nia aniversariu no diskusaun ho tema “Fronteira Maritima” hamutuk ho ami iha La’o Hamutuk nia edifisiu.

We are very happy to invite our friends to come together to celebrate La'o Hamutuk's anniversary in a discussion about Maritime Boundaries at La'o Hamutuk's office ... and a party.

Loron Kinta, 22 Maiu 2014
Thursday, 22 May 2014
 
Ajenda
14.00-16.30: Aprezentasaun no diskusaun nakloke ho tema “Fronteira Maritima”
16.30-16-45: “Tinan sanulu resin hat ezisténsia La’o Hamutuk nian” liafuan husi staff no belun La’o Hamutuk nian
16.45-19.30:Han hamutuk no palku nakloke


Schedule 
14:00-16:30: Presentation and open discussion about "Maritime Boundaries"
16:30-16:45: Brief comments from staff and friends on "Fourteen years of La'o Hamutuk"
16:45-19:30: Eat, drink and make music together, and enjoy!



Ami ne’ebe Konvida,Adilsonio, Alexandra, Armindu, Celestino, Charlie,  Ines, Francisco, Juvinal, Luciana, Mariano, Odete, Rosmenio

09 May 2014

Private Public Consultations

Although many people are discussing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a new model for developing infrastructure in Timor-Leste, Private Public Consultations (PPCs) have been with us for a long time. One example is the "Public Consultation" announced by the National Petroleum Authority (ANP) and Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources on this banner, which has been displayed across from the Foreign Ministry for about a week.

The meetings will discuss draft Technical Regulations for oil and gas operations off Timor-Leste's south coast, in the Exclusive Area not shared with Australia. The detailed rules can protect (or endanger) workers, revenues and the environment. These regulations, hundreds of pages long,   are critically important in balancing the cost-cutting, profit-seeking incentives of the companies against the human, financial and ecological responsibility of Timor-Leste's government to safeguard against such dangers.  When a similar consultation was held in 2008 on Technical Regulations for the Joint Development Area, La'o Hamutuk identified many areas which needed improvement, and we would like to be able to help this time as well. Since then, offshore oil disasters like Deepwater Horizon and Montara have been sharp reminders of the need for effective regulation.

After we saw ANP's banner, we asked them for the draft regulations, so that we could prepare for the consultation. A day later, they declined to share the documents, but did send us an invitation (left) and agenda (right). We are posting them to encourage others to join the Dili workshop, which will be at Delta Nova on Wednesday, 14 May from 08:30 - 16:00.  Four hours of presentations will be followed by 45 minutes of questions and answers.

La'o Hamutuk does not have experts on staff who can thoroughly analyze complex technical documents; we rely on experienced international volunteers.  The ANP also required outside help, and they contracted Gaffney, Cline & Associates who presented a draft in 2011, which ANP has been studying for nearly two years.

After such a long process, ANP knows that it takes time to understand these documents and give useful input. The late notice for the consultation, with no substantive information, raises doubts about its purpose. So we asked:
"Wouldn't the consultation be more effective if people had a chance to read the drafts before the workshop, and perhaps to discuss them with others to get wider and wiser input?  Or is this really a socialization, where ANP will explain what they have already decided to do, rather than expecting to modify the drafts based on people's suggestions during the consultation process?"
In response, ANP promised that "the ANP will continue receive public opinion/feedback or submissions after the workshop."  We hope that they will modify the regulations to incorporate the suggestions they receive, and that this PPC is more than pro-forma.

Update, 13 June: A week after we wrote this blog, ANP posted the draft regulations and other materials at http://www.anp-tl.org/webs/anptlweb.nsf/vwAll/PUBLIC%20CONSULTATION. They "highly encourage" and "greatly appreciate" public participation in this consultation, and recently extended the time for written submissions from 14 to 30 June. To make a submission or to ask for more information, contact anp.konsultasaunpubliku@anp-tl.org.

Update 1 July: La'o Hamutuk has made a web page about this consultation process, including the submission we gave to ANP yesterday. The main points of our submission include:

  • Timor-Leste’s interests are broader than simply maximizing production of oil and gas, but encompass state revenues, environment, sustainable development, and minimizing risks of injury, damage or corruption.
  • Many provisions on environment, health and safety should be improved, including those discussing management of discarded materials, legal frameworks, minimizing risks, banning flaring, defining “best practice” and “reasonably practical,” health and safety committees and audits, sanctions, and protecting against companies’ negligence or malfeasance.
  • Before onshore exploration begins, local communities need more consultation and protection.
  • Timor-Leste should receive more money from extracting our oil and gas, and not be so generous to the companies.
  • All revenues – taxes, royalties, fees, penalties – must be deposited into the Petroleum Fund as required by the Petroleum Fund Law.
  • Transparency is generally ignored and sometimes prohibited by these draft regulations and contracts, and needs more attention, requirement and protection.
  • Even though local content is unlikely to be a significant element in building Timor-Leste’s non-oil economy, it needs better definition and clearer requirements.
  • Obligatory monetary “contributions” from companies are inappropriate, as they violate budgetary and democratic processes.

08 May 2014

Environmental licensing – who needs it?

Protecting Timor-Leste's fragile environment is essential for national development and improving the quality of people’s lives. It allows us to farm, eat, drink, fish and breathe. If we allow it to be damaged, we get famine, flooding, pollution, toxic waste and disease. This is recognized in Article 61 of Timor-Leste’s Constitution: “Everyone has the right to a humane, healthy, and ecologically balanced environment and the duty to protect it and improve it for the benefit of the future generations. … The State should promote actions aimed at protecting the environment and safeguarding the sustainable development of the economy.”
As the 2011-2030 Strategic Development Plan explains, “The people of Timor-Leste have a strong relationship with the natural environment. For generations, our ancestors depended on the environment for food, clothing, building materials and everything else essential for life. We lived in harmony with the environment, using it sustainably to support our families.”
To achieve these goals, and to protect Timor-Leste’s unique geology and ecosystems, projects with significant environmental risk need to be evaluated and licensed before they are built, including both assessing possible environmental impacts and planning how to manage them, during both construction and operational phases. Since 2011, Timor-Leste has had our own environmental licensing law, and before that the Indonesian AMDAL law applied here. Nevertheless, very little is known about the licensing processes for environmentally risky projects which were started or built in the last three years.  Many never even bothered to apply.

RDTL Decree-Law no. 5/2011 of 9 February on Environmental Licensing  (Portuguese original) requires projects which could have significant environmental effects to prepare Environmental Impact Assessments and Environment Management Plans (Art.4). The National Environment Directorate (DNMA, part of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment) creates a committee (Art.10) to evaluate the EIA and EMP, conduct public consultation (Art.11), and require improvements (Art. 12.3, 14.3) before recommending (Art.13) that a license be issued (Art.14). No one can begin implementing a project without a license (Art.23.5), subject to up to a quarter-million-dollar fine (Art.34.5). Licenses (as well as reasons for denial or special requirements) are to be published in the Jornál da Repúblika (Art.14.4, 21.4) and DNMA must maintain a public register of licenses, evaluations and other information (Art. 38).

Although the Decree-Law is not perfect, it could help protect Timor-Leste’s delicate ecosystems … if it were actually implemented. A few years ago, La’o Hamutuk participated in consultations on exploratory offshore drilling, and we also learned that the Suai Supply Base received a license last year (with no public consultation), but the Jornál da Repúblika has never mentioned an Environmental License.

Last January, La'o Hamutuk joined discussions with an ADB technical assistance project to improve environmental licensing processes, and it became clear that this law is violated far more often than it is obeyed.

We asked how many licenses had been granted, and a few weeks later ADB included a list from DNMA in a workshop presentation, showing that DNMA had issued eleven licenses, and five more were in process. Only two of the eleven were for large projects with major environmental impact (Category A under the Decree-Law): the now-abandoned Pelican Paradise resort project in Tasi Tolu, and the Suai Supply Base (SSB).

DNMA’s list said that the SSB License was “issued with political interference,” a precedent they didn’t want to repeat. As La’o Hamutuk has explained, the SSB license was issued last year without any public consultation or the required project-specific Environmental Management Plan. When we suggested that DNMA should implement clause 2.4 of this License -- “Due to serious violation of the EIA, EMP and Environmental License procedures, the RDTL environmental authority will suspend or cancel environmental license as described in Article 35(c) of Decree-Law No. 5/2011” -- everyone at the workshop smiled.

La’o Hamutuk then made a formal request (Tetum original) for information on licensing to date, and DNMA staff was cooperative. Although the public register doesn’t yet exist, in March they provided the table of licenses at right, as well as some of the licenses and other information.

Later, they told us that they were reviewing another Category A project, Esperanca Timor Oan (ETO)’s planned fuel depot in Hera, and provided the terms of reference for its upcoming licensing application.

However, we were sad to learn that many significant projects never contacted DNMA to initiate the licensing process. Multi-story buildings on two or more hectares of land are Category A, but DNMA has heard nothing from the builders of Timor Plaza (Tony Jape, Comoro), the Ministry of Finance building (Kampung Alor) or the Palm Business and Trade Center (Jackson Lay, Surik Mas), even though construction is far along for all three of these.

Even if a project uses less than two hectares, it still requires a license as Category B. The Prime Minister himself laid the cornerstone for AGP Square (Tommy Winata, Arthagraha Group Peduli, Kaikoli) last November, but DNMA has heard nothing about this project. Other large projects – the Hera and Betano power plants, Comoro bridges, tourism beach developments -- have also defied  licensing requirements. We listed a few of them in the following table, and we encourage people who know of other projects which require licenses (the criteria are annexed to the Decree-Law) to tell DNMA about them.


Project

Location

Owner

Status

Land Area

Cat.

License status


Timor Plaza 5-story building and
several others
Comoro, Dili Tony Jape Some buildings finished, other construction
continues
4 Ha A Never applied. Ground-breaking in 2009, opened 2011.
AGP Square 26-story building
Kaikoli, Dili

Tommy Winata, Arthagraha Group
Peduli

Cornerstone laid, no work since

1.5Ha

B

Not yet applied. Ground-breaking
Nov. 2013

Palm Business and Trade Centre
Surik mas, Dili Jackson Lay Mostly built 2 Ha A Never applied. Construction began in 2011, opened 2013.
Ministry of Finance 11-story
Building
Kampung Alor, Dili RDTL MoF Mostly built 2 Ha A Never applied. Construction began in 2011, not yet finished.

Hera power station

Hera

EDTL, MOP

Built

3.5 Ha

A

Never applied.
Construction began in 2009, operation in 2011.
Betano power station
EDTL, MOP

Built

82 Ha

A

Never applied. Construction
began in 2010, operation in 2012.

Pacific Beach Resort
Dolok-oan

Tony Jape

Land clearing  started recently

22 Ha

A

Not yet applied

Dollar Beach Metinaro Tony Jape


Not yet applied
Trafigura fuel depot Hera Sacom Energia A Not yet applied

ETO fuel depot Hera Esperanca Timor Oan

A TOR approved, application in
process

Offshore oil drilling
Bayu-Undan, Kitan

Conoco-Phillips, Eni



A

Never applied to DNMA, new wells in 2013-4



MSS Building

Kaikoli, Dili

RDTL MSS

Built

0.7 Ha

B

Never applied, already built



Comoro Bridges I+II

Comoro, Dili

MTC/MPS

70% built

250m

B

Never applied, mostly built



After La’o Hamutuk’s inquiries, DNMA became more pro-active in publicizing licensing requirements, and started distributing a notification letter (right) to state agencies and private sector developers. We hope that this will be followed up with enforcement.

Among the long list of projects whose proponents have not engaged with DNMA, two are especially dangerous and worrisome. Trafigura, a European commodities trading company, plans to build a fuel storage depot in Hera, with the capacity to hold 90 million litres of oil, nine times the amount needed for Category A.
Together with their local partner Sacom Energia (headed by Abilio Araujo), Trafigura received a $73 million contract last March to supply fuel for the Hera and Betano power plants and delivered the first 12 million liters on 2 April. Trafigura comes with a long record of corruption and environmental devastation, including a recent $750 million case in Angola and one which poisoned 100,000 people in Côte D’Ivoire in 2006, and we hope that DNMA and other regulators will prevent them from inflicting similar damage in Timor-Leste.

Tony Jape, the developer of Timor Plaza, has never applied for a single environmental license. He recently began clearing more than 20 hectares of beachfront land in Dolok-oan, between Cristo Rei and Hera, for a tourist resort. Some have asked how Jape got permission to develop this public land and a similar tract at “Dollar Beach” in Metinaro (his projects in Darwin are also problematic), but this article focuses on environmental regulation. The precedents set here could protect (or endanger) many parts of Timor-Leste’s beautiful and fragile shoreline.

Timor-Leste has not had effective environmental protection during twelve years of independence, or for centuries before that. Although we appreciate the work of the State Secretariat for Environment in discouraging littering and planting trees, the most imminent dangers to our ecosystems are from large construction and industrial projects, which involve huge quantities of toxic chemicals that endanger health and could contaminate river ecosystems, ground water, agricultural land, oceans and the atmosphere.

We hope that Timor-Leste’s Government will become more effective in keeping our land and waters safe, clean and habitable, strengthening some communities’ use of Tara Bandu to protect their local areas. Government and project owners must make information available, consult with the people, and obey and enforce our laws, so that everyone can work together to protect Rai Furak ida ne’e.