POLITICS, NATIONAL, DILI

President Horta promulgated the law on the Major Option Plan for 2023

President Horta promulgated the law on the Major Option Plan for 2023

José Ramos-Horta said there is "no justification" to extend the state of emergency decree (Image/special)

DILI, 13 june 2022 (TATOLI) – The President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta has promulgated the law on the Major Option Plan (MOP) for 2023.

“Today I announced the Major Option Plan law for 2023. The law is an indicative plan for the priorities of the current government and its respective budget projections from 2023 onwards, with this means the MOP has no immediate impact on the current financial stability of the country,” President of Republic, José Ramos Horta said in a statement released today.

The Government declared that the law underlined the Government’s Plan that aimed at achieving the objectives set out in the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030. Depending on the priorities of any future Government, this plan can be amended at any time to reflect those same priorities.

The law underlined the function of the Government to set policy. The President may advise the Government and express opinions, public or private, on any policy that is in the public domain, but it is the role of Parliament and the Government to develop and implement public policies in the democratic system.

“The President must act as one of the guardians of the Constitution, as the protector of our democracy and the Rule of Law, and to ensure, within the limits of the law, respect, and compliance with constitutional rules,”

by promulgating this law “ I wish to make it clear that there are aspects of the Government’s plan that I am not fully comfortable with, Of the total planned budget of $3,155,715,306 for 2023, $1,000,000,000 has been allocated for the establishment of the National Veterans’ Fund. I am afraid that the allocation of funds is not equitable or proportionate. Perhaps a more detailed explanation of the strategy for the application of this Fund would reassure our society and me” said President.

There is no doubt that the veterans have rendered a priceless service to this country. But this does not mean that the budgetary allocation to them in the recent Rectified Budget is appropriate to achieve what the Government sets out to do in reducing the levels of poverty that currently exist in Timor-Leste.

According to President Horta, Providing 90% of the total Rectified Budget to assist 1.75% of the total population on its face does not appear fair and equitable Nor does it seem adapted to achieve the stated goal of assisting those members of the population who have been, and are being daily, affected the hardest by the effects of natural disasters and the current global economic situation.

“I believe that it is precisely helping these people that this allocation should be focused upon, and not only on a specific group of citizens, regardless of their historical importance. I am sure that because of their patriotism and the role they have historically played in the fight for our independence and a free and developed Timor-Leste, they will understand these concerns. Especially, when what may be at stake, besides social equality issues, is the economic and financial sustainability of this country they love and have fought so hard for”

For these reasons President intends to ask the Court of Appeal to review the law on the Rectifying Budget, this is a part of the democratic process of ensuring the normal and healthy functioning of the country’s institutions.

Concerning the law that raises doubts, impartially requested consideration, by judges of the Court of Appeal, is one of the ways provided to enable the President to perform his function as a guarantor of constitutional legality.

The Court of Appeal has the exclusive competence to decide on the constitutionality of laws.

If in its assessment, the Court of Appeal considers that there are constitutional irregularities regarding this allocation of funds, this will necessarily require an amendment to the 2023 Major Choices Plan, and therefore I have no objection to its enactment.

 

Journalist: Camilo de Sousa

Editor: Nelia Borges

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