DILI, 07 November 2019 (TATOLI) – The Timor-Leste government has signed on to loans worth a total of $US 457.5m, a parliamentary meeting has heard.
Sitalina Maria das Dores Amaral Tilman from United Public-Private Partnerships (UPPP) fronted the 2020 Budget hearings at the National Parliament in Dili today, explaining the loans were signed with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“From 2012 to 2018, the government has taken its total lending budget to $398.5 million. [And there’s] new lending for 2019 totalling $59 million that’s still under negotiation,” she said.
But Ms Sitalina said the government would extend its lending in the upcoming 2020 General Budget to $750 million, subject to refinancing with the banks. But it’s not guaranteed that all the loans will be implemented in the next year.
In response to questions from Parliamentary committees (C through to F) present at the hearing, Ms Sitalina said those loans were largely for road construction:
- $78m for the road from Maliana to Tilomar;
- $138m for the road from Lautein to Lospalos and Viqueque;
- $60m for roads from Maubara to Hatulia, and Maliana to Batugade;
- $350m for SAT cross;
- $55m municipality water and sanitation;
- and $30m for “basic education” facilities
The director said the actual balance spent from 2012 to 2019 is $216.4m, with some $4.5m in interest paid over that time.*
“The government lending from three banks (ADB, World Bank and JICA) is $182m in total, and execution from January to October this year is the total of $37.71 million… or 44 per cent”
China loan rejected on ‘sovereignty’ grounds
The hearing also heard the government had signed a lending agreement with Exim (Export-Import) Bank of China in 2015, but after submitting to the court for approval, the loan was rejected on sovereignty grounds.
“Our Court has rejected the lending agreement, after our Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation submitted the application” to the Exim Bank, she added.
Also at the hearing, the Deputy of Parliament’s Committee E, Anabela Savio, questioned the Ministry of Finance, unsatisfied with the answers given about the loans.
“We would like to know the total of lending amount that has been paid,” she said.
Originally published in Tetum as: Timor-Leste Halo Ona Empréstimu Millaun $457, 51
Journalist: Florencio Miranda Ximenes
Editors: Maria Auxiliadora; Robert Baird
Translation: Nelia Borges