Dili, 21 mar 2021 (Lusa) – The Timorese Government has prepared an urgent package of six measures, worth about $ 200 million (EUR 167,4 million), to respond to current economic impacts, social and humanitarian of the pandemic, according to government sources.
Measures, include renewing business support given last year at the start of the pandemic, with the amount representing a percentage of worker s’ wages, a percentage of electricity spending and a percentage of income spending.
This measure, with an initial predicted duration of three months, will also include support for informal workers, such as public transport drivers, among others, explained the sources of the Government.
The credit moratorium measure and the supplement to front line workers will also be renewed, in this case possibly by the end of the year or, in the case of the supplement, while ′′ justifying and continuing the state of emergency “.
Although the final cost tables are still being completed, around half the total amount of the package of measures is aimed at renewing the three business support measures, credit moratorium and front line workers.
The package of measures also includes various expenses related to combating covid-19, including vaccine acquisition and testing material and increased capacity of isolation and quarantine sites.
Finally, payment of outstanding expenses for the Basic Basket measure will be made.
Teams from various Ministries have been working ′′ hard ′′ over the last few days to close the measures, with meetings taking place even today.
Source of the Ministry of Finance confirmed to Lusa that the goal is to fund the expenses ′′ without needing additional withdrawal from the Petroleum Fund ′′ and instead resorting to balances that were not used in 2020 and relocating expenses.
Such balances, such as the remaining amount in the Covid-19 Fund or funds that were not used in the initial business support measures, as well as allocation transfers, will help fund the measures.
The solution, explained the sources, was found to overcome the Government’s difficulties currently having liquidity, but not being able to apply because there are no funds for that purpose.
One of these examples is the amount for payment of the basic basket in the Covid-19 Fund, it was not executed as predicted in 2020, but formally could not be used this year because it was not budgeted.
The same source explained that the measures will not affect the scheduled timetable of withdrawals from the Petroleum Fund to fund the Treasury account – $ 200 million was transferred in February -, and that they will be done accordingly.
The urgent package has been drawn up and finalised in the last few days and should be approved next week by the Council of Ministers.
Measures cover economic, social, humanitarian and strengthening support for pandemic front line conditions, as detailed last week by Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak.
This is an adjustment to this year’s public accounts that have been thought of in a resumption scenario, conditioned by what is being the worst ever period of the pandemic in East Timor and the need for a ′′ stabilization ′′ response.
On Wednesday Taur Matan Ruak explained that it is a response both in terms of combating illness and social and economic support, and encompasses ′′ strengthening the Covid-19 Fund and support for frontline groups and those teams on the ground to keep working “.
′′ It takes logistical support so that when they go out there is no problem and they can work better “, said, saying that it is necessary to extend this strengthening to respond in several municipalities in the country.
It is also necessary, emphasised, an ′′ additional budget ′′ for ′′ economic and social intervention and humanitarian support that is needed ′′ at the present time.
Finally, the additional budget will increase the issue of vaccination, a process that ′′ is not easy ′′ but in which the Government continues to work, the Prime Minister explained.
To Lusa, Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Magellan, said that the Ministry of Finance has drew up the fastest and most effective solution of financing the measures.
Measures involve, among others, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministries Coordinator of Economic Affairs, Health, Social Solidarity, Higher Education and Education.
ASP // EA
Lusa / End