Dili, June 6, 2009 – A representative of the World Bank, Mr. Jim Adams, Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Region, visited Timor-Leste on June 4-6, 2009 to meet with The Honourable Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance, and donors.
The purpose of his visit was to reinforce the strong ties established between Timor-Leste and the World Bank. Specifically, Mr. Adams discussed a range of matters with the Minister of Finance including the planned restructuring of the Planning and Finance Management Capacity Building Program (PFMCBP), a program which has been under scrutiny in recent weeks.
"We want to make clear that this program has achieved outstanding results in the past 18 months. In November 2007, when I last visited Timor-Leste, it was evident to me that this program was not performing well in supporting the Government to address the extraordinary challenges it faced at the time. During 2008, however, and with the determined leadership of the Minister of Finance, this program supported the Ministry, the Government and all institutions of State, to achieve impressive results".
Budget execution tripled, from $180 million in 2006/07 to $550 million by the end of 2008. "A substantial part of the increase was directly supported by the work done under the PFMCBP" said Mr Adams. "The Government has established a climate of peace and stability. In 2008, major outlays were made on labour-intensive public works. Social programs were successfully funded and implemented, some 100,000 IDPs were able to return to their homes, and pensions were paid to veterans, the elderly and the disabled".
Mr. Adams also noted that "This program also enabled the Minister to pursue a reform agenda directed at better management of public finance and at strengthening the capacity of her Ministry. A new organic law has underpinned restructuring of the Ministry, innovative senior management arrangements and merit-based recruitments are showing results. However, there remain major challenges ahead in achieving lasting improvements in the capacity of Timorese civil servants to convert the country’s wealth into services that benefit the poor".
"For the Bank, the PFMCBP has become a flagship of aid effectiveness in Timor-Leste. In a short time, the Government, the Bank and the donors co-financing this effort have successfully implemented a program that is fully aligned with the Government’s priorities". END
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