Asia and Pacific > Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of

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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The 2023 Article IV Consultation discusses that Timor-Leste has made impressive progress since independence in 2002 but remains a fragile post-conflict nation with pressing development needs. With oil and gas production having recently come to a halt, progress on diversifying the economy and developing the private sector is urgently needed. The discussions focused on ensuring that Timor-Leste’s substantial savings are best utilized to support development objectives while achieving fiscal sustainability. In order to develop a vibrant private sector, Timor-Leste should undertake an ambitious agenda of reforms. Public expenditure should be reduced to align it with the economy’s absorptive capacity, and its quality improved including by further prioritizing spending on human and physical capital. Domestic revenue should be gradually mobilized. A medium-term fiscal framework should underpin these efforts by setting a clear roadmap to fiscal sustainability. To boost growth and diversify the economy, structural reforms should remove bottlenecks in the agriculture and tourism sectors and foster digitalization to boost productivity, while addressing legal constraints that hinder business operations and financial development.
International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.
The background papers support the stocktaking analysis and the proposed way forward for the 2023 review of the IMF's AML/CFT Strategy. The five background papers provide in-depth discussions on the following key topics: (i) illicit financial flows; (ii) the impact of money laundering in financial stability; (iii) synergies between financial integrity issues and other Fund policies and work; (iv) the Fund’s collaboration with key partners in the AML/CFT global policy architecture; and (v) stakeholders’ views of the effectiveness of the Fund’s AML/CFT engagement.
Ablam Estel Apeti, Olivier Basdevant, and Ms. Veronique Salins
This paper investigates the performance of fiscal rules in resource-rich countries (RRC). Using panel data for 57 commodity exporting countries from 1976 to 2021, we find that fiscal rules: (i) reduce the procyclicality of real public expenditures with terms of trade in oil exporting countries, and (ii) improve non-resource primary balances in all RRC, especially during terms of trade upturns. The rules’ design matters. Addressing the procyclicality of public expenditures with terms-of-trade can be achieved with expenditure rules, and, for oil-exporters, revenue rules (althoug limited data on the latter calls for taking the results cautiously). To improve non-resource fiscal balances, debt rules and fiscal balance rules are shown to have a positive impact, especially in oil exporting countries. We further investigate the effect of fiscal rules and other features of the fiscal framework through case studies (for Botswana, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste). These cases highlight that even when fiscal rules are not fully complied with, they lead to some degree of fiscal discipline. The case studies also highlight the importance of the quality of fiscal frameworks: frequent revisions, lack of compliance or low stringency of the rules can significantly hamper their effectiveness.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Timor-Leste has made impressive strides in economic development and institution building. Yet, it is a low-income and fragile country with pressing development needs. A large fraction of the population faces chronic food insecurity, and significant gaps exist in health, education, and infrastructure. With active oil fields nearly depleted, little progress has been made in diversification while fiscal sustainability is at high risk. Higher food and oil prices are fueling higher inflation, exacerbated by political spending pressures ahead of the general elections in 2023.