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Timor-Leste President vetoes budget bill for 2019

Timor-Leste President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo has vetoed the budget bill proposed by the Government for this year, his staff have announced.

The President’s staff issued a written statement quoting Mr Guterres as saying that although the US$2.13 billion budget was the biggest yet proposed in Timor-Leste, the bill failed to provide for sufficient spending on health, education and other services to the public.

Mr Guterres said the budget would entail a bigger deficit than in years gone by, meaning the Government would have to withdraw from the fund of oil money held by the state.

The budget bill envisages US$670 million of spending on oil and gas development, largely for the purpose of buying foreign oil assets.

The Timor-Leste legislature must now revise the bill.