Dili, June 23rd, 2020: The Commission for the Preparation of the Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan (CP-ERP) was created from the speech of His Excellency the President of the Republic, on May 20th, when he recommended to the VIII Government to give priority to the creation of a specific plan to the economy recovery, after the outbreak of COVID-19. Based on this recommendation, on June 10th, Council of Ministers Resolution 18/2020, for the creation of this Commission, was approved. In the same resolution, a period of 60 days was stipulated for the Commission to present an outline of the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
The Committee is chaired by ex-Minister of Finance, Rui Augusto Gomes, as President, accompanied by four members: Mr Rui Maria de Araújo, Mr Manuel Vong, Mr Carlos Lopes Saki and Mrs Berta Montalvão. These members have great experience and a thorough knowledge of the areas that are a priority for ERP. On the June 18th, around five o’clock p.m., at the Government Palace, this Commission was installed by His Excellency the Prime Minister of the VIII Constitutional Government, General Taur Matan Ruak.
This event shows that there is a good understanding and a good institutional collaboration between the two sovereign bodies: The Presidency of the Republic and the Government.
The Commission will have technical and administrative support for the preparation of the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) from UPMA (Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit) of the Prime Minister’s Office, and will also have support from other State institutions, specialized agencies of the UN, Cooperation partners with Timor-Leste, academics, civil society and entrepreneurs.
After the official constitution of the Commission, consultations with several stakeholders mentioned above were immediately initiated, and there was a positive reaction on how to recover the country’s economy.
The objective of the Economic Recovery Plan is to propose to the VIII Government the instruments that can guarantee that essential health services are available to the whole community, help citizens to face several crises, protect jobs and income of citizens and companies, in view of the impact of the economic crisis, caused by COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a real threat in our lives, but, besides that, it is an opportunity to strengthen our resilience capacity to face crises. This is one of the reasons for investing with quality.
Although the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak was not very strong, there were no deaths, and those infected of the disease have all managed to recover, the same cannot be said about the social and economic impact in the country. For example, citizens who are not civil servants have lost their jobs and have seen their income drop, due to the implementation of the lockdown.
The COVID-19 outbreak moved everyone, make us frightened and panicked, and, because of that, some people decided to returned back to their villages, in the mountains, or to stay indoors. This caused economy almost to stop. However, this situation, that affects the country, is also caused by several structural factors, that already persisted in our economy before the outbreak. Over many years, the best attention has not been paid to improving these factors. The structural factors mentioned are: low income, low investment in the productive sector, which cause productivity in the production structures to be very low, an unbalanced distribution of income, a huge dependence on imported products, the fact that the main source of funding for State activities is the Petroleum Fund, and the fact that our health system is still very deficient, as well as people’s education and income.
The short term priority, will be ensure that the unemployment does not rise and that income can come from productive employment. The Commission will propose a package of measures and actions to the VIII Constitutional Government, so that it can respond to the economic situation and the impact of COVID-19 in the people lives and their business. The package of measures and actions will be divided into two phases: in the short term (until the end of 2020) and for the period from 2021 to 2023.
Although the ERP (Economic Recovery Plan) period covers only two and a half years, the proposals for measures and actions do not ignore the goals that we must achieve in the medium and long term, according to the Program of the VIII Constitutional Government, the Strategic Development Plan Goals and Sustainable Development Goals.
The methodology for identifying measures and actions that are part of any economic policy must begin with a thorough diagnosis, which requires the use of various quantitative and qualitative instruments, in order to better understand the real situation (economic and social) and what has changed with the COVID-19 outbreak. This analysis is already underway, and also includes some projections for the coming year. The effectiveness of these measures and actions will depend on the quality of the data and information that the Commission is collecting from the relevant parties.
The Commission will make weekly press releases on the activities and progress of the service, so that the public can more closely monitor their work.
Thanks for the attention.