Subject: LUSA: US, Australia and UK to release funds to cover budget shortfall

11-11-2002 19:18:00. Notícia nº 4326583

East Timor: US, Australia and UK to release funds to cover budget shortfall

Dili, Nov 11 (Lusa) - Agreements with three international donor countries to plug East Timor`s budget deficit in the first quarter of the current financial year will be signed in the next few days, it was revealed Monday in Dili.

Timor's financial year began July 1 and the new nation recorded a USD 2 million budget deficit in the period ending Sept, 30. A source in the Dili finance ministry said state coffers were in a "less than favorable situation".

However, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to release funds in the near future to ensure Dili can balance its books, Lusa has learnt. These fresh cash transfers bring the amount already donated to Timor, which became independent May 20, to USD 20 million.

There has been some delay in transferring donations to Dili and this shortfall in expected state revenue has already led the Timorese government to trim its spending plans.

Dili's finance minister, Madalena Boavida, told Lusa recently that pledged European Union support of about USD 5.1 million will "regretfully" not arrive this year as expected, the funds from Brussels only arriving in 2003.

ASP/CJB -Lusa-

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