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UNTAET Daily Briefing 09 Mar 2000

Source
Posted
Originally published
SRSG returns to Dili
Dili, 9 March 2000

UNTAET OFFICIALS MEET INDONESIAN FM OVER INCURSIONS

The director of the UNTAET Political Affairs Division, Peter Galbraith, expressed today the great concern of the United Nations about the recent border incidents during a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab in Jakarta.

Galbraith said that the unlawful incursions and violence were aimed as much against President s Wahid policy of reconciliation as against UNTAET and the people of East Timor.

In the meeting, UN Peacekeeping Force Commander Jaime de los Santos briefed minister Shihab on the details of the incidents.

Before their return to Dili, Galbraith and De los Santos are scheduled to meet the TNI Commander Admiral Widodo and the diplomatic core in Jakarta.

The UN Peacekeeping troops are still conducting an operation in Ermera and Ainaro, in response to the latest incursions into East Timor.

IRISH PM TO RAISE BORDER ISSUES BETWEEN EAST AND WEST TIMOR WITH WORLD LEADERS

Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland expressed his concern that the tensions still exist with the Indonesian controlled West Timor today on concluding his one-day visit to East Timor.

The Irish Prime Minister pointed out in a brief meeting with the press at the Comoro Airport this afternoon, that he had heard first-hand from the UNTAET [Peacekeeping] Force of the continued activities of militia along the border and indicated that he would raise these issues with the U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright when he visits the United States next week and also at the E.U. Summit in Lisbon in two weeks time .

During his brief visit here, the Irish Prime Minister met with SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello, CNRT leaders Xanana Gusmao and Ramos Horta and Major-General Mike Smith, Deputy Commander of UN Peacekeeping Force. He also met with Irish NGOs and visited the Irish contingent in Taroman, a small town near Suai in the Southwestern region of East Timor.

EAST TIMOR'S PROVISIONAL TAX REGIME ESTABLISHED

As a symbol of true independence, East Timor has, for the first time in its history, a tax system established to provide the country with revenue.

A provisional tax and customs system for East Timor was set up by Regulation 2000/12, signed yesterday (8 March) by the Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The regulation focuses on generating revenue from business activity and taxing products marketed to those with higher buying power. It covers imports, exports and the domestically produced goods except for the goods that were on their way to East Timor prior to 20 March 2000.

According to the regulation, importers will be paying import duty of five per cent of the customs value of the goods (which is calculated by adding up the cost of goods, insurance and freight).

Several categories of goods will be exempted from import duties. These include humanitarian relief goods, goods imported by the UN and other international organizations to be used or distributed for the benefit of public, baby formulas, sanitary napkins and several other categories.

Excise duties have been introduced on goods produced domestically for usage in East Timor that include soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, fuel, some electronic goods and cars.

Importers of goods to which the import duty applies, together with producers of domestic goods paying excise duty, will pay additional sales tax of five per cent of customs value.

The regulation also determines that the exporters of coffee, the main export of East Timor, will be charged a presumptive tax of five per cent of value of the beans exported.

Regulation 2000/12 is not applicable to the Timor Gap arrangements between East Timor and Australia covered in a memorandum of Understanding of 10 February 2000.

The first East Timor taxes and duties in the history of the country will be collected by UNTAET Border Service.

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT GUIDELINES DEFINED

The Transitional Administrator also signed the Regulation on Public Procurement for Civil Administration in East Timor, which will direct procurement of goods, works and services in East Timor.

The main objective of the regulation is to maximize efficiency in public spending, facilitate the urgent reconstruction and economic development of East Timor, promoting competition among qualified suppliers, contractors and consultants and providing for the fair treatment of all bidders.

Regulation 2000/10 will govern all procurement by UNTAET conducted from 1 July 2000 for the purposes of the civil administration of East Timor, except if donors or funding agencies have conflicting procurement rules.