04 June 2009

East Timor Government says Fretilin has presented no social or fiscal policies to the Nation

Dili - 26 May 2009 Timor-Leste Government Media Release Fretilin has presented no social or fiscal policies to the nation - Fretilin has begun another round of attacks on the Gusmao Government, this time focusing on the budget which was established to reduce poverty, improve services and build the foundations for economic growth.

The Government has been lauded by the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and Donors for turning the country around, creating social stability and providing the foundations of the recorded 12% economic growth in a country which only knew negative growth rates since 2002.

Joao Goncalves, Minister for Economy and Development commented, “In any democracy the role of opposition is twofold, firstly, to hold the Government of the day accountable. Secondly, to provide the nation with alternative social and fiscal policies, so that our citizens can determine how they want their nation to be run.

Since the Government has been in power, Fretilin as a political party has become well versed on the impact of accusations and allegations through the media, using these tactics to discredit the Government, the ministers, their advisors, and even the donors. However, this is not an act of holding the Government accountable, merely a deflection by Fretilin to avoid engaging in real political debates.

Let's be clear, at no point has opposition presented any alternative social or fiscal policies to the nation, not one, at any time.”

The fact that Fretilin as a whole has ignored the functions and governance of any political party by definition, which is to provide transparent alternative social and fiscal policies, indicates that they, in fact, are still incapable of engaging in the positive development of the nation. Why not be transparent, empower the spirit of political diversity and define those policies that form the core of their statute as a party.”

In a media release dated May 29, Fretilin indicated under their administration they would abolish pensions for the elderly, veterans and infirm, halt investment in agriculture, in particular, the equipment needed to produce higher crop yields and decrease spending on infrastructure projects amongst other key portfolios.

Unfortunately, the lack of Fretilin policies led this country into the depths of poverty, ” said Goncalves citing the 2007 Timor-Leste Survey of Living Standards (TLSLS) which revealed a mass increase in poverty under the Fretilin Government. Between 2001 and 2007, the poverty in some areas of Timor-Leste rose from 36.1% to a staggering 49.9%, with an average increase across the nation of 13.6%.

This means when the IV Constitutional Government took office, about half our citizens fell under the poverty line of $0.88 per person per day. So until Fretilin can account for their past mistakes and, provide policies that add to the social and fiscal agenda of our development, we as a Government have a hard time taking them seriously as a capable opposition.”

Recent audit reports by Delloites on the former Government revealed that 54% of the General State Budget of 2006/2007, Fretilin’s final year in Government, was allocated to a vendor called ‘no vendor”, which means no one will ever know how or on what the money was spent.

Goncalves concluded, “Considering Fretilins’ mismanagement of state funds we are particularly uninterested in their commentary on budget management.” ENDS

For More Information Contact: Minister Goncalves number is: +670 7230024

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is interesting to see and hear the government is trying to protect itself. Yet, one thing that is obvious, that it is not the political parties that have "stakes" on the issue of good governance and better management of the money. Ordinary people or civil society too are interested in the issue. Responding to the opposition's critics as a strategy to keep a clean name would not be sufficient to get the job done. The government can only better clear the conjusted air by delivering to the people what the have promised to do. That is, our people are a bit updated to what is happening. so, merely countering the critics would not save their terms. Wish you good luck.