TEMPO SEMANAL TV
President Jose Ramos Horta, Horta who just returned from Jakarta said he wants the 2010 government budget to put substantive budget resources towards the country's infrastructure.
"If the government put a major budget allocations towards the roads I will be 100% in support of it." he told the journalists in the Dili airport.
The Timor-Leste roads networks is in pain even though millions has been spent to rehabilitate the natioal road network.
He emphasised that, "This country needs roads, roads and more roads, first class roads." "If we want to develop the economy. Develop the culture. if we want to improve services and delivery in education and health. And if we want tourism, we have to develop our road network," Horta argued.
According to Horta this is going to cost money and he wants Prime Minister Xanana's government to take out money from the Petroleum Fund to do it.
Horta called on the international monetary agencies to remeber his 2007 preocupation in regard to world economy. "In july 2007 when I took office as President, I imediately called the World bank, IMF, ADB and they all came to see me. I told them that I was very worry about the world economy in particularly about the depreciation of US dollar. No one listen to me. Now US Dollar is down 30% since march this year," he said with smiling face.
At this stage Timor revenues from oil and gas in Bayung Udang is saved in a US treasury bonds in USA. Horta is now worrying about TL's 5 Billions US dollar in USA treasury bond.
"So it means the five billion Dollars we have in US treasury bank a year ago now you can reduce it by 30%. Because the purchasing power of US dollar gone down to 30%."
Horta also concerned about the cost for TL embassy in Europe will increased because US dollar is weakening against Euro. "I talk to our Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa on the plane that how is going to estimate the budget for our embassy in Europe. You calculate a year ago in Dollar but now Euro went up 30% against dollar," he said.
For all this reason Horta give full support to PM Xanana Gusmao's governmnet to withdraw the oil fund from US Treasury bonds and starting to invest in East Timor's infrastructures. "I would support the governmnet if the Government want to use petroleum fund, NOW, to spend on roads, on bridges and on educations. He argued, " the longer we keep the money only in US treasury bond the more value we loss.And we are already losing."
Timor-Leste's President suggested that the Government start to establish a team to explore other investment options for the fund. Horta suggested European, Japanese and Australian bonds. "So the governmnet should diversify and get out from US Dollar, apply in others Treasury bonds in particularly Europe and Japan."
Horta said he really appreciated the strength of the American Economy but, "At this stage the situation is very dangerous," for the US Dollar.
Horta ruled out some biggest economic power in the Asia - China - starting to preoccupied with the money in US treasury bond. "I tell you the Chinese are very worried, extremely worried about their assets in USA accounts."
Horta is concerned if in the near future there is a run on the US economy and to take out their money from US means "our US$ 5 billions dollar collapse in value."
Horta said, "So I told the government to make a courageus decission in using the money in US Treasury bond to pay for our infrastructure."
He continue that at least TL building the infrastructure rather than keep it in New York. "We already lost 30% and no one is talking about it. He told the media that TL has already lost 30% by virtue of the fact that since March 30% depreciation of US Dollar plus inflation."