Subject: SMH: Rebuilding the aim with $100m budget

Sydney Morning Herald June 10, 2000

Rebuilding the aim with $100m budget

By MARK DODD, Herald Correspondent in Dili

The de facto parliament, the National Consultative Council, has approved a Budget of $US59.23 million ($100.94 million) to help the nation rebuild after last year's devastating militia violence.

The budget will be taken for approval to an international donors' conference in Lisbon this month.

The 15-member council, chaired by Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello, chief of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), has 11 East Timorese members and decides on important UN regulations.

Last week, Mr Vieira de Mello said this was neither a welfare nor a development budget, but aimed at fiscal restraint.

The main beneficiaries of the money, to be paid from the UN and World Bank Trust Funds for East Timor, are the health, education and infrastructure sectors, all hard hit after the September bloodshed.

Health, education and social affairs will receive $US13.65 million, and $US15.4 million will be spent on water, sanitation and infrastructure.

At least $US14.45 million will be used to pay the salaries of an estimated 9,000 East Timorese public servants, and $US15.6 million will be spent on capital works, UNTAET 's head of finance, Ms Fernanda Borges said yesterday.

A total of $US4.66 million will be spent on training 516 East Timorese police and 337 gendarmes.

The justice system has been allocated $US2.9 million, and $US2 million alone earmarked for rebuilding four district courts in the 2000-01 financial year.

Funding for justice will be almost halved next financial year.

Ms Borges estimated that revenue this year from taxes and charges would be about $US22 million, rising to $US33 million next year.

The budget assumes income of $US1 million this year from a tax on exports of coffee, the country's main crop.

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