Fundasaun Mahein (FM), 06 November 2014
Committee B of the National Parliament Holds Hearings for the Proposed 2015 State General Budget for the Security Sector.
In October 2014, the government presented the proposed 2015 State General Budget (SGB) to the National Parliament (NP). This budget is in the hearing process by Commission B. This commission has urged Fundasaun Mahein to express its opinions regarding the proposed Law No. 16/III (3a) of the 2015 SGB. FM was invited to raise any opinions regarding the proposed 2015 SGB for the security sector.
According to the proposed 2015 SGB, $71,348,000 of the total $1.5 billion will be allocated to the MDS for administration. This amount does not include special funds or funds for development partners. The proposed amount does allocate funding for the internal institutions of the MDS, such as the Office of the MDS, the Secretary of State for Defense (SSD), the FALINTIL-F-FDTL, the IDN, the Secretary of State for Security (SSS) and the PNTL.
The opinions expressed by FM described the essential security areas, such as land, airspace, and maritime borders. The presentation also outlined the situation for immigration services and community security. All of these security areas continue to lack human resources, facilities, and equipment. Furthermore, there is minimal coordination and cooperation between the security institutions.
In relation to these essential areas, FM describes the difficulties of the relevant authorities. With these shortcomings in mind, it appears that the allocations of the proposed 2015 SGB would be beneficial in supporting and better equipping the security institutions. A specific theme of the presentation was that Timor-Leste need effective and further support for border security and training areas. In addition, resources should be devoted to increasing coordination between security authorities.
The maritime security area needs a system of maritime authority that is able to coordinate issues related to the sea. In particular, this maritime unit should engage with between defense agencies, security institutions, and the relevant ministries. FM’s monitoring identified that formal coordination processes have not been established between these authorities. Instead, this coordination occurs informally and only in the event of an accident or incident.
Another issue worth investigating is that of the immigration control system. Currently, the movements of migrants are increasing. In particular, Timor-Leste has witnessed the violation of migratory procedures by some citizens, such as those working with tourist visas and also illegal migrants. A significant problem is that Timor-Leste has no proper budget for deporting, so individuals found in violation of migratory procedures are simply assigned “abandoned volunteer” status.
FM’s presentation also focused on criminal investigations, for which the proposed 2015 SGB budget allocates funding. This funding specifically targets training and special instruction for investigators in drugs, human trafficking, and other areas in criminal investigation. Crime in today’s world has become organized and complex. Therefore, Timor-Leste needs qualified investigators to conduct services efficiently and effectively.
Another issue addressed was that of community security. Currently, these community initiatives are developing and involve all social structures within societies. One important development has been the rise of community policing through the Council of the Community Police (CCP) and volunteer security. CCP and volunteer security personnel have recently been placed in 74 villages and 8 districts. 3 other districts are in the consultation phase. These services will contribute strongly to the prevention of crime and conflict at the village level. Criminal activity prior to these services was very high, and security authorities are hoping that this new community-level enforcement will help abate crime.
Finally, FM’s presentation stressed the importance of greater state investment in intelligence activities. On this subject, FM recommended that greater coordination and cooperation be established between relevant security institutions, in order to combat the complex and evolving threats of today’s world.
To Committee B of the National Parliament:
a) Support policy and budget allocation for essential services, such as border security, immigration control, maritime security, criminal investigation, community policing, and intelligence, in the coming budget discussion.
b) Supervise the execution of the 2015 SGB. This supervision should oversee the planning process, procurement, and project implementation. Committee B receives a large budget allocation for local visits ($73 million of the total $117 million reserved for goods and services), so it should perform appropriate follow-up during the entire implementation process.
To the MDS:
a) Establish a procurement calendar and calendar of acquisition for upcoming projects in the coming year, avoid urgent single-source procurement.
b) Obey procurement laws and guides of good practice during its execution of the 2015 SGB.
For more details on this issue, please see the following:
Executive Director of FM
Phone (+670) 7831 6075 or (+670) 7756 1184