Ruak Says Timor-Leste Can Still Pay For Sunrise Holdings by 18 March Featured

By INDEPENDENTE March 12, 2019 1106
The Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak The Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak

DILI: Taur Matan Ruak has insisted his government will meet the payment deadline for holdings in Greater Sunrise gas project on 18 March, despite the Court of Appeals yet to decide on the legality of the government’s proposed payment plan.

In an interview with media on Thursday, the Prime Minister swept aside questions about risk in the US$650 million buyout of ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell holdings emphasising a need for boldness.  

“The biggest risk for Timorese people is death,” he said. “Why did we confront death? For Independence! Why can't we take on risk?

“One who isn't brave enough, they will never succeed in their life, neither as an individual or a people,” he said.

The comments come as the government continues its effort to transfer money from the Petroleum Fund to TimorGap to pay for the shares.

On 21 February, Sara Lobo, the Acting Minister of Finance, presented the government’s new investment policy in parliament.

The policy would allow 5% of the Petroleum Fund (around $800 million) to be invested in TimorGap, while decreasing the percentage of the Petroleum Fund invested in stocks from 40% to 35%, according to La’o Hamutuk

The State-owned company must then use the investment to exploit known oil and gas fields which are commercially competitive and will contribute to development and diversification of Timor-Leste’s economy.

The plan came after the President of the Republic approved the government’s controversial amendment to the country’s Petroleum Activities Law after first vetoing the change amid concern it would lead to misuse of funds.

The decree change removes legal protections which prevent the Petroleum Fund being used for Sunrise buyout.

Under Timor-Leste law, the President can veto a bill once, but must then ratify it if the bill wins a parliamentary vote of approval.

Days after  Lobo announced the payment plan, legal experts urged the government not to implement the new policy before the court rules on changes to the Petroleum Activities Law.

On 30 January, a letter signed by 23 members of parliament asked the Court of Appeals to review the legality and constitutionality of the changed Petroleum Activities Law.

The decree removes a 20 percent cap on state participation in oil projects and allows Sunrise and other projects to bypass approvals by parliament in future.

On 15 February the Prime Minister’s office clarified that the process of buying Sunrise shares would proceed “until the court says stop,” La’o Hamutuk reported.

Under Timor-Leste law, until the court decides amendments to the Petroleum Activities Law are in force.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Independente Digital TV

Tuir ami iha Twitter

Kalendariu Notisia

« April 2024 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30