Open Budget Survey 2019 :
Timor-Leste

View this page in:
Contents
Transparency:
40
/100
(Open Budget Index score)
Public Participation:
6
/100
Budget Oversight:
48
/100

Government budget decisions – what taxes to levy, what services to provide, and how much debt to take on – affect how equal a society is and the well-being of its people, including whether the most disadvantaged will have real opportunities for a better life. It is critical that governments inform and engage the public on these vital decisions that impact their lives.

The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions such as the legislature and auditor in the budget process.

The survey helps local civil society assess and confer with their government on the reporting and use of public funds. This 7th edition of the OBS covers 117 countries.

Transparency

This part of the OBS measures public access to information on how the central government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents using 109 equally weighted indicators and scores each country on a scale of 0 to 100. A transparency score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

Timor-Leste has a transparency score of 40 (out of 100).

Transparency in Timor-Leste compared to others

Global Average
45
Philippines
76
Indonesia
70
Thailand
61
Malaysia
47
Timor-Leste
40
Vietnam
38
Cambodia
32
Myanmar
28
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Timor-Leste’s ranking: 69 of 117 countries

0
100

How has the transparency score for Timor-Leste changed over time?

34
2010
36
2012
41
2015
40
2017
40
2019
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Public availability of budget documents in Timor-Leste

Available to the Public
Published Late, or Not Published Online, or Produced for Internal Use Only
Not Produced
Scroll
Document 2010 2012 2015 2017 2019
Pre-Budget Statement
Executive’s Budget Proposal
Enacted Budget
Citizens Budget
In-Year Reports
Mid-Year Review
Year-End Report
Audit Report

How comprehensive is the content of the key budget documents that Timor-Leste makes available to the public?

61-100 / 100
41-60 / 100
1-40 / 100
Scroll
Key budget document Document purpose and contents Fiscal year assessed Document content score
Pre-Budget Statement Discloses the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive's Budget Proposal; outlines the government's economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. 2019 Not Produced
Executive’s Budget Proposal Submitted by the executive to the legislature for approval; details the sources of revenue, the allocations to ministries, proposed policy changes, and other information important for understanding the country's fiscal situation. 2019 52
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2018 89
Citizens Budget A simpler and less technical version of the government's Executive’s Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget, designed to convey key information to the public. 2018 Not Produced
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2018 78
Mid-Year Review A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget as of the middle of the fiscal year; includes a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. 2018 Not Produced
Year-End Report Describes the situation of the government's accounts at the end of the fiscal year and, ideally, an evaluation of the progress made toward achieving the budget's policy goals. 2017 Internal Use
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2017 48

Timor-Leste’s transparency score of 40 in the OBS 2019 is largely the same as its score in 2017.

What changed in OBS 2019?

Timor-Leste has increased the availability of budget information by:

Publishing the In-Year Report online in a timely manner.
However, Timor-Leste has decreased the availability of budget information by:
As a result of the late enactment of the FY 2018 budget only at the end of September 2018, the Citizens Budget for FY 2018 was not produced.
The late enactment of the FY 2018 budget also resulted in reduced information provided in the Executive’s Budget Proposal for FY 2019.

Recommendations

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

Publish the Year-End Report online in a timely manner.
Consistently produce and publish the Pre-Budget Statement, Citizens Budget, and Mid-Year Review online in a timely manner.
Include in the Executive's Budget Proposal explanations about how proposed new policies for revenues and expenditures are reflected in the budget proposal.
Improve the follow-up on the Audit Report by having the executive publish online a report tracking actions taken to address audit recommendations or findings.

Public Participation

Transparency alone is insufficient for improving governance. Inclusive public participation is crucial for realizing the positive outcomes associated with greater budget transparency.

The OBS also assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process. It examines the practices of the central government’s executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution (SAI) using 18 equally weighted indicators, aligned with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policies , and scores each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

Timor-Leste has a public participation score of 6 (out of 100).

Public participation in Timor-Leste compared to others

Global Average
14
Philippines
31
Indonesia
20
Malaysia
17
Thailand
13
Vietnam
11
Timor-Leste
6
Cambodia
6
Myanmar
0
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

For more information, see here for innovative public participation practices around the world.

Extent of opportunities for public participation in the budget process

0
/100
Formulation
(executive)
33
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
0
/100
Audit
(supreme audit institution)

few: 0 - 40; limited: 41 - 60; adequate: 61 - 100

Recommendations

To further strengthen public participation in the budget process, Timor-Leste's Ministry of Finance should prioritize the following actions:

Pilot mechanisms to engage the public during budget formulation and to monitor budget implementation.
Actively engage with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, directly or through civil society organizations representing them.

Timor-Leste's National Parliament has established hearings related to the approval of the annual budget, but should also prioritize the following actions:

Allow the public and the media to attend and observe hearings on the budget proposal.
Allow any member of the public or any civil society organization to testify during its hearings on the budget proposal prior to its approval.
Allow members of the public or civil society organizations to testify during its hearings on the Audit Report.

Timor-Leste's Court of Appeals should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist in developing its audit program and to contribute to relevant audit investigations.

Budget Oversight

The OBS also examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in the budget process and the extent to which they provide oversight; each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 based on 18 equally weighted indicators. In addition, the survey collects supplementary information on independent fiscal institutions (see Box).

The legislature and supreme audit institution in Timor-Leste, together, provide limited oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 48 (out of 100). Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
39
100
weak

Audit oversight

0
67
100
adequate

weak: 0 - 40; limited: 41 - 60; adequate: 61 - 100

Recommendations

Timor-Leste's National Parliament provides limited oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage. To improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

The executive should submit the complete budget proposal to the legislature in a timely manner, and the legislature should approve the budget well before the start of the new budget year.
Legislative committees should examine the Executive’s Budget Proposal and publish reports with their analysis online.
A legislative committee should examine in-year budget implementation and publish reports with their findings online.
In practice, ensure the legislature is consulted before the executive shifts funds specified in the Enacted Budget between administrative units during the budget year.
A legislative committee should examine the Audit Report and publish a report with their findings online.

To strengthen its independence and improve audit oversight by the Timor-Leste Court of Appeals, the following actions are recommended:

Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

The emerging practice of establishing independent fiscal institutions

Timor-Leste does not have an independent fiscal institution (IFI). IFIs are increasingly recognized as valuable independent and nonpartisan information providers to the Executive and/or Parliament during the budget process.

*These indicators are *not* scored in the Open Budget Survey.

Methodology

  • Only documents published and events, activities, or developments that took place through 31 December 2018 were assessed in the OBS 2019.
     
  • The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in each country by an independent budget expert:
    Celestino Gusmao; Eliziaria Febe Gomes; Charles Scheiner
    La'o Hamutuk
    Rua Dom Alberto Ricardo, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste (Tel. +670-3321040)
    [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
  • To further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert.

 

Other years