Timor-Leste needs to diversify economy and increase productivity

28 July 2015

The economy of Timor-Leste (East Timor) needs a “strong” private sector to diversify and improve its productivity, while improving living conditions in rural areas, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The report – “Growing the non-oil economy: an assessment of the private sector in Timor-Leste” – examines the progress already made in the economic development of the country, considering that the government “introduced a number of initiatives to improve investment and the trade environment.”

The opening of the telecommunications market and improving the business and project registration process are two examples highlighted by the ADB, which also recommends other changes to drive the private sector.

The report highlighted political stability in Timor-Leste since 2006 and “visible” improvements in the services provided to citizens, all of which have contributed to increasing confidence in the country, which is essential for economic growth.

The ADB points out that the oil sector, which dominates the national economy, is affected by declines in revenues from oil fields in operation, with the largest share of private investment focusing on activities related to public spending.

“There is a need for private investment in productive sectors of the economy to generate new sources of income, creating jobs for the unemployed and for the growing population,” the study said.

The report presents a set of recommendations, including measures to ensure the sustainability of public spending by strengthening public infrastructure whilst paying attention to costs. (macauhub/TL)