ETimor passes transitional budget

DILI, Oct 6 2007

East Timor’s parliament on Saturday passed a transitional period budget proposal of 112 million dollars on a split decision.

The budget was passed with 36 votes for, 21 against and six abstaining, one day after Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao presented the parliament with a budget proposal for the transitional period before entering the next financial cycle.

It is proposed for six months, from July to December 2007.

Lawmaker Pedro da Costa from Gusmao’s CNRT party told reporters “the budget is urgent and programmes should be implemented immediately. I am certain that the government will soon realise all their (proposed) programmes.”

Gusmao said the budget’s priorities would be refugees, reducing poverty and the tightening of security to “equip the police force to be able to work more professionally.”

Meanwhile, Fretilin secretary general Mari Alkatiri said that they voted against because “we do not agree with the government’s and the budget commission’s answers in the debate.”

Fretilin continued to view the current government as unconstitutional.

The government inherits 119 million dollars of unused funds carried over by the past administration.

East Timor’s parliament in August last year passed the 2006-7 fiscal year budget, the young nation’s largest ever at 315 million dollars, after a delay caused by violence and political upheaval in May.

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