Meeting of the Council of Ministers on January 25th, 2023

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Eighth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on January 25th, 2023

The Council of Ministers met, at the Government Palace, in Dili and approved the draft Decree-Law, presented by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Joaquim Amaral, which aims to extend the distribution period of the basic food basket. This measure was established by Decree-Law No. 10/2022, of March 4th, which approved the efforts to strengthen the distribution of basic food baskets to Timorese families in need and to support local economic operators and created a special procurement regime for this purpose under the economic recovery plan. Therefore, with this decree-law approval, the deadline for basic food basket distribution, previously set until December 31st, 2022, is extended until May 30th, 2023.

The draft Government Resolution, presented by the Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, José Lucas do Carmo da Silva, approving the 2023-2030 National Strategic Plan for Tourism Development (PENDT 2023-2030 – Portuguese acronym) was approved.

The vision of this strategic plan is to develop Timor-Leste as a unique destination in Asia with an inclusive, sustainable and responsible tourism sector.

The PENDT 2023-2030 establishes strategic intervention vectors and action proposals to be taken by the Government until 2030 to accelerate and boost the development of national tourism in partnership with all stakeholders, including national institutions, civil society, development partners, and the private sector.

Eleven strategic vectors are defined, with their respective priority areas of intervention. In addition, the PENDT 2023-2030 will also include a multi-year implementation plan until 2030, which presents a schedule for priority activities and identification of the main responsible parties and partners.

The Council of Ministers approved the draft Decree-Law, presented by the Vice Minister of Social Solidarity, Signi Chandrawati Verdial, to establish one-time support for vulnerable people.

This decree-law aims to establish support to be granted by the State to individuals and families in situations of extreme social vulnerability to guarantee the satisfaction of basic needs during the social reintegration process.

This support will be granted on an ad hoc basis to individuals and families facing extreme temporary vulnerability in the form of foodstuffs, non-food necessities for personal use, basic needs for domestic use, cash support, and psychosocial support.

The type of public support to be granted and its amount depends on the assessment of the social vulnerability situation by the governmental department professional responsible for social assistance. However, the amount of monetary support cannot exceed US$ 500, except in cases of corpse transport, where the maximum amount is set at US$ 5,000.

The draft National Parliament’s Resolution, presented by Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, regarding the proposal to appoint José da Costa Ximenes as Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, for a four-year term, on a full-time basis, was approved.

According to the legislation in force, the name proposed by the Government will now be examined and voted on by the National Parliament. Its designation will require an absolute majority of the Members of Parliament present, representing at least three-quarters of the Members of Parliament in full exercise of their office.

The Council of Ministers decided to authorise the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Timor-Leste and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) concerning a financial contribution in the amount of 4.9 billion Japanese Yens (about US$ 37.5 million) regarding Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport requalification project. The Council of Ministers also designated the Minister of Finance, Rui Augusto Gomes, to sign this Agreement.

The Council of Ministers approved the draft Decree-Law, presented by the Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo, concerning the legal regime of breast milk substitutes.

This law aims to regulate the marketing, information, advertising and quality control of products intended, directly or indirectly, for feeding infants and children up to three years of age. Thus, the decree-law regulates the nutritional substances and composition criteria for breastmilk substitutes, establishes advertising rules, defines rules on information, labelling and packaging, and indicates which entities are competent for marketing authorisation.

Breast milk is the perfect food for children’s healthy growth and development, so it is necessary when mothers do not breastfeed or do so partially to ensure the quality of the respective substitutes. Also, it is vital to ensure that their promotion and distribution do not interfere with the protection of breastfeeding, following the recommendations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions.

The draft Decree-Law provides fines ranging from US$ 1000 to 4000, the possibility of sanctions such as loss of objects belonging to the agent and suspension of the commercialisation of the product.

The National Council for Breastfeeding and Infant Nutrition will also be created to advise the Government on the definition of national policies to promote and protect breastfeeding and infant feeding. It will also encourage the population’s awareness of the advantages of breastfeeding and the duty to comply with the rules regarding breastmilk substitutes and complements.

The Minister of State Administration, Miguel Pereira de Carvalho, gave a presentation on the schedule for the 2023 Parliamentary Elections.

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pedro dos Reis and the Secretary of State for Fisheries, Elídio de Araújo, gave a presentation on the Integrated Fisheries Plan.

The plan presented aims to ensure greater use of fishery resources, maximise the multiplier effect of fish production and processing, increase national capacity to control aquatic resources, increase fish consumption, and increase national economic income.

Lastly, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Armindo Maia and the Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, Abrão Saldanha, presented the political-legislative options underlying the initiative to create a martial arts law.

This legislative initiative is intended to recognise martial arts as a sporting activity and to develop a legal regime capable of responding to this vision and contributing to the potential of martial arts as a tool to support the healthy development of society, especially young people. It also intends to establish sanctioning measures to ensure effective compliance with the legal regime and determine objective rules that allow the decision to suspend martial arts practice and closure or extinction of branches, centres or schools and the organisation. END