Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Chinese Fortunes

Many of the largest construction projects currently underway in Timor-Leste are being funded by the Chinese Government and implemented by Chinese contractors. The recently completed Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the soon to be completed new Presidential Palace and Chinese Embassy are three examples. However, there are indications that the Chinese Government will also be building the ne Ministry of Defence for the Government of Timor-Leste in addition to a residential complex for married officers at the F-FDTL Metinaro Training Facility.

These projects represent tens of millions of dollars of procurement activity, however it appears as though all of the materials and labour are procured in China. While a new building may be a good thing locally procured goods and services in the construction of said edifices acts as a major force multiplier in building private sector capacity and creating jobs. It seems as though a major opportunity is being lost.

An Opportunity Lost.

Big budgets have come and gone from Timor-Leste since 1999.

On the peace operations side there has been UNTAET, UNMISET I and II, UNOTIL, JTF 631 and now UNMIT and ISF. Add to these the UN Agencies Programmes and Funds, (UNICEF, UNDP, ILO, WFP, UNHCR, UNFPA, FAO etc) the bilateral donors (USAID, AusAID, DFID, JICA, Norway, Ireland etc) and the Worldbank and now major oil and gas outfits are even in town. However, how much of the billions of dollars spent "on" Timor-Leste has been spent "in" Timor-Leste? Answer: Alot, but not as much as could have been. This represents a major opportunity lost, given the chronic and destabilising poverty and unemployment in Timor-Leste. 15 000 young people enter the workforce in Timor-Leste every year and that there are only 400 new jobs a year to greet them. Buying locally to build the capacity of the domestic private sector is both good politics as well as economics. Some would even argue it is moral issue.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The South Coast of Timor-Leste - the Bread Basket

From Zumalai - Cova Lima

In addition to the team in Dili you now have people in Suai and Ainaro that can help you on the ground to Buy Local on the South Coast! Contact for details.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Procurement and Build Expo

Director of National Procurement Fransisco Borlaku Soares second from right, Member of Parliament Ceclio Camniha Freitas far right and Peace Dividend Trust staff Ricardo Ribeiro and Gaspar Quintao talk business at the Buld Expo, Dili Timor-Leste 11-12 April 2008. Soares oversees all of the procurement requirements of the Government of Timor-Leste. In a country where the national budget has increased from $140 million/year to $348 million/year in 24 months this means that Mr. Soares has significant responsibility.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

A First in Timor-Leste

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Talking to Government and asking the International Community to Buy Local

At the recent Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting in March 2008 the NGO community asked the Government to help them encourage the international community to take note of the potentially positive economic impact of local procurement. And to Buy Local.

In short,

"We ask the Government to join our call on international partners to increase local spending, helping to stimulate job creation and build private sector capacity."

For more information see this