East Timor

Year of reference 2015

To read the full results, please go to: https://www.internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/timor-leste-open-...

Transparency

Timor-Leste’s score of 40 on the 2017 Open Budget Index is largely the same as its score in 2015.

Since 2015, Timor-Leste has decreased the availability of budget information by: 

  • Failing to publish In-Year Reports online in a timely manner, despite some data being available on the Government’s Budget Transparency Portal.

Moreover, Timor-Leste has failed to make progress in the following ways: 

  • Not making the Year-End Report available to the public, despite some data being available on the Government’s Budget Transparency Portal. 
  • Not producing a Pre-Budget Statement or a Mid-Year Review.

Public Participation

Timor-Leste’s score of 9 out of 100 indicates that it provides few opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process. This is lower than the global average score of 12.

Budget Oversight

The legislature provides limited oversight during the budget cycle. 

This score reflects that the legislature provides adequate oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage of the budget cycle. 

The main barriers to effective legislative oversight are: 

  • A debate on budget policy by the legislature does not take place prior to the tabling of the Executive’s Budget Proposal. 
  • A legislative committee does not publish reports on its examination of in-year budget implementation online.
  • In practice, as the budget is implemented, the legislature is not consulted before the government shifts funds between administrative units specified in the Enacted Budget or reduces spending due to revenue shortfalls.

The supreme audit institution provides adequate budget oversight. 

  • Under the law, it has full discretion to undertake audits as it sees fit. 
  • Moreover, the head of the institution is appointed by the legislature or judiciary and cannot be removed without legislative or judicial approval, which bolsters its independence. 
  • Finally, the supreme audit institution is provided with sufficient resources to fulfill its mandate, but its audit processes are not reviewed by an independent agency.

RECOMMENDATIONS

How can Timor-Leste improve transparency? 

Timor-Leste should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency: 

  • Publish a Year-End Report online. 
  • Publish In-Year Reports online in a timely manner. 
  • Produce and publish a Pre-Budget Statement and a Mid-Year Review.

How can Timor-Leste improve participation? 

Timor-Leste should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in its budget process: 

  • Pilot mechanisms for members of the public and executive branch officials to exchange views on national budget matters during both the formulation of the national budget and the monitoring of its implementation. These mechanisms could build on innovations, such as participatory budgeting and social audits. For examples of such mechanisms, see www.fiscaltransparency.net/mechanisms/. 
  • Hold legislative hearings on the formulation of the annual budget, during which any members of the public or civil society organizations can testify. 
  • Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist the supreme audit institution in formulating its audit program and to participate in relevant audit investigations. 

How can Timor-Leste improve oversight? 

Timor-Leste should prioritize the following actions to make budget oversight more effective: 

  • Ensure the legislature holds a debate on budget policy prior to the tabling of the Executive’s Budget Proposal and approves recommendations for the upcoming budget. 
  • Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency. 
  • Consider setting up an independent fiscal institution to further strengthen budget oversight.

PEFA: https://pefa.org/country/timor-leste