Meeting of the Council of Ministers on December 6th, 2023

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Spokesperson of the Government of Timor-Leste
Ninth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on December 6th, 2023

The Council of Ministers met at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the draft Decree-Law presented by the Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, to establish the Land and Maritime Boundary Office (GFTM – Portuguese acronym).

This Decree-Law aims to redefine the structure and competences of the Council for the Definitive Delimitation of Maritime Borders, concentrating the efforts and resources for the negotiation process in the Land and Maritime Boundaries Office, under the Prime Minister's Office, to define the necessary conditions and objectives for concluding the treaties establishing the land and maritime boundaries with the Republic of Indonesia.

In addition to supporting the Prime Minister in the negotiations for the final delimitation of the borders with Indonesia, the GFTM will also assist the Prime Minister in designing, developing and implementing Timor-Leste's "Blue Economy" policy.


According to the draft presented by the Vice-Minister for ASEAN Affairs, Milena Maria da Costa Rangel, the Council of Ministers approved the draft resolution to acquire a building for the premises of the Embassy of Timor-Leste in London, United Kingdom.


The Council of Ministers approved five pieces of legislation presented by the Minister of State Administration, Tomás do Rosário Cabral:

1. A draft Decree-Law on material and financial support for victims displaced by fire in their own permanent homes.

The growing incidence of fires in densely populated settlements, especially in the city of Dili, has resulted in the total destruction of multiple homes and the displacement of several families at the same time. As well as representing a social and humanitarian tragedy for the families affected, this scenario reveals the lack of adequate resources of public institutions to deal with the situation.

With this Decree-Law, the Government proposes the creation of a particular measure to definitively address the housing issue of these families, providing them with material and financial resources to build a permanent home on land chosen by the family itself. In addition, a monthly subsidy will be granted to support the family's relocation for six months.

Thus, the Decree-Law provides for the granting of material and financial support by the State to households permanently displaced due to involuntary fires in their own permanent homes. The support includes a donation of building materials of up to US$ 9,000, transport of materials, a subsidy for labour of up to US$ 1,500, transport for relocation and a monthly subsidy to support family relocation of US$ 500, subject to the existence of a budget allocation for this purpose and based on a standard architectural project drawn up by the Ministry of State Administration.

Households that declare that they are relocating their habitual residence outside the municipality of Dili will be given preference in receiving the support provided for in this Decree-Law.


2. A draft Decree-Law for the first amendment to Decree-Law no. 33/2008, of August 27th, on Hygiene and Public Order.

Decree-Law no. 33/2008, of August 27th, established legal rules to ensure the hygiene and health of public spaces within settlements while also seeking to mitigate the risk of conflicts arising between the individuals within them. After more than a decade since its approval, it is understood that the normative solutions remain useful and up-to-date. Still, given the evolution of the organisation and functioning models of local administration, as well as the significant population growth, it is necessary to update some of these rules. This regulatory intervention seeks to clarify some of the solutions adopted previously, which have caused uncertainty in local Government services, and to deepen the administrative offence regime, which is considered insufficient for the practical application of the sanctions provided for violations of the provisions of the original Decree-Law.

The decree-law prohibits anyone from discharging wastewater onto public roads, depositing waste in public places or adjacent properties, directing pipes or ditches into public areas without a licence from the local authorities, temporarily placing containers or objects on public roads that could obstruct traffic, and installing equipment for works or commercial activities without the proper authorisation. This Decree-Law also prohibits making noise that disturbs public peace between 9pm and 6am unless the local authorities grant a licence.

This Decree-Law also states that it is only permissible to keep animals intended for human consumption, such as pigs, goats, sheep, cattle or poultry, in residential areas if the animals are confined in stables, pigsties, chicken coops, pens or other suitable constructions. Animals seized by the local authority are considered forfeited in its favour unless claimed by private individuals within 15 days of the date of seizure. Private individuals are responsible for reimbursing the administration for the sums spent on keeping the seized animals.

This statute assigns to the bodies and services of the local authorities and the National Police of Timor-Leste the responsibility of monitoring compliance with the rules set out therein and applying the sanctions provided for. Any person has the right to report any acts that may constitute violations of the regulations to the local authorities or the police. In the event of a complaint, the complainant is allowed to request anonymity, and public officials' disclosure of the complainant's identity is considered a disciplinary offence.


3. A draft Decree-Law on Community Development Planning.

Community development planning aims to define local communities' economic, social and environmental development strategies to progressively improve their members' quality of life. These strategies are discussed and enshrined in a Community Development Plan by the members of each community, who jointly identify the challenges or obstacles facing the community development process and agree on solutions to overcome them.

Based on this framework, this law establishes the principles that shape community planning, the information that must be included in Community Development Plans and the procedure that must be followed to draw up, discuss and approve these documents. Given the need to ensure the coherence of the various levels of development planning, the solutions advocated in each Community Development Plan must be brought into line with the solutions enshrined in the Strategic Development Plan and the Municipal Development Plans.


4. A draft Decree-Law for the fifth amendment to Decree-Law no. 8/2013, of June 26th, on the National Villages (Sucos) Development Programme (PNDS – Portuguese acronym).

This amendment aims to promote greater involvement by community leaders, especially the Village Chiefs (Chefes de Sucos), in defining and monitoring investments in their communities. More than ten years after the original Decree-Law came into force, the new Decree-Law makes it compulsory to consult the Village Chiefs before approving investments financed by the PNDS and establishes the provision of information on implementing these investments. It also seeks to align the procurement regime for goods and services with other recent regulations, allowing for specific award procedures. The law also eliminates rules related to the PNDS Technical Secretariat, transferring them to a Government Decree following Decree-Law 49/2023 of August 23rd.


5. A draft Government Resolution on donating motorised vehicles to the Village Chiefs who served in office from 2016 to 2023.

In recognition of the dedication and commitment of the Village Chiefs, who will be leaving office on November 28th, 2023, to the public cause, manifested in the work they have always dedicated to their local communities, the Government has decided to permanently donate a motorised vehicle to each Village Chief who will be leaving office on November 28th, 2023, or to the Village Chiefs who will have served between 2016 and 2023 but were re-elected.

Due to the age and precarious state of the motorbikes used by the Village Chiefs, who leave office by November 28th, 2023, and considering the high repair costs regarding their depreciated asset value, the Government decided to donate as the most viable alternative.

The former Village Chiefs who received the donation bear the costs of registering ownership of the motorised vehicle and other expenses.


The Council of Ministers approved a draft Decree-Law on trade defence measures, presented by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Filipus Nino Pereira

This Draft Decree-Law aims to establish trade defence measures in Timor-Leste, given that the country's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Pacific States, and integration into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), require formal commitments on market access for goods and services, intending to reduce or even exempt customs duties, carrying out various reforms and approving trade restrictions, as part of a process of trade liberalisation.

Trade defence measures are mechanisms adopted by the State and companies to safeguard the national industry against unfair trade practices, such as dumping and subsidies, understood as strategies to dominate markets by companies from competing countries, which undermine fair competition. In addition to minimising the effects of these practices, these measures aim to provide temporary protection for the national industry in the face of import surges. To achieve this goal, it is imperative to implement corrective measures that allow for the temporary increase of customs duties or the application of quantitative restrictions, such as import quotas, to protect national industries from harmful competition from imports.


The Council of Ministers approved the draft Decree-Law, presented by the Minister of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Verónica das Dores, to repeal the Decree-Law no. 22/2021, of November 10th, which established the pregnancy and child allowances, known as the Mother’s Grant - New Generation (Bolsa da Mãe - Nova Geração) subsidies, and for the second amendment to Decree-Law no. 18/2012, of April 4th, which established the Mother’s Grant (Bolsa da Mãe) conditional support allowance.

This Decree-Law strengthens the Mother’s Grant (Bolsa da Mãe) Conditional Support Subsidy by introducing different monthly subsidy amounts, between US$ 8 and 10, based on the beneficiary children's school cycle, encouraging school attendance. In addition, the amounts for children with disabilities of school age who attend school are increased by US$ 5, underlining the Government's commitment to promoting equity. The Government believes that it is of the utmost importance that school attendance, when the final beneficiaries are of an age compatible with it, is one of the criteria established, as this integrates the social assistance policy with an educational perspective.

The revocation of the Mother’s Grant - New Generation (Bolsa da Mãe - Nova Geração) programme, established by Decree-Law No. 22/2021 of November 10th, was based on a critical assessment of the social assistance policies in force. The Government recognises the importance of protecting children, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, but believes that adjustments are necessary to ensure a more effective distribution of resources. The Government considers that social protection for pregnancy is of great importance for early child protection but believes that, before continuing to provide a social support subsidy for pregnancy, it is necessary for the State to carry out an impact study of the results achieved and likely to be achieved in the reduction of vulnerabilities and correspondence with the country's birth policy.


A draft Decree-Law, presented by the Minister for Planning and Strategic Investment, Gastão Francisco de Sousa, concerning the first amendment to Decree-Law no. 3/2023, of February 15th, which established the National Procurement Commission (CNA – Portuguese acronym) and approved its statutes, was approved.

This legislative intervention has two main objectives: firstly, to redefine the CNA's mission, aims and objectives, governance model, operating rules, and respective remuneration. Secondly, the aim is to broaden the CNA's remit as a public service specialising in the instruction of procurement procedures, aiming for fair, efficient and economical purchases based on optimising the cost-benefit ratio.

According to the present statute, the CNA is a personalised State service, part of the State's Indirect Administration, within the Ministry of Planning and Strategic Investment scope, endowed with administrative and financial autonomy and its own assets. The CNA's mission is to ensure the implementation of the legislation on procurement, to instruct procurement procedures in a fair, efficient and economical manner, to provide support in the instruction of procurement procedures carried out by services and entities in the Public Administrative Sector, to contribute to the standardisation of procedures and to instruct the processes within the scope of the administrative offence regime provided for in the legal regime for procurement, public contracts and the respective infractions.

Among other duties, the CNA oversees procurement procedures of a value equal to or greater than one million US dollars for services and entities in the public administrative sector and projects under the infrastructure fund, regardless of their value.


Lastly, the Council of Ministers approved the draft Government Resolution, presented by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Forestry, Marcos da Cruz, to determine the maximum amounts to be paid for the loss of buildings, improvements, crops, the cessation of livestock activities and the transfer of bones and funeral ceremonies, in the area of implementation of the requalification project for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Forestry building. END