Timorese government signs agreement with IFC to improve business environment

The agreement was signed by the interim coordinating minister for Economic Affairs, Fidelis Magalhães and the director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the region, Azam Khan.

“Improvements in the business environment, especially at the present time, are critical for economic diversification, one of Timor-Leste's main political priorities for boosting growth and generating jobs,” said Fidelis Magalhães.

Referring to the cooperation that has already taken place in the reform of company registration and licensing, the objective is now to move forward “with a broader reform of the business environment to facilitate the development of economic activities and attract investment,” he explained.

Timor-Leste continues to be one of the worst countries in the world in terms of conditions for doing business, ranking 181st out of 190 in the World Bank's “Doing Business” report.

Which is why, Azam Khan said, “removing critical business restrictions will help the private sector have a better chance of survival and recovery” after the covid-19 pandemic, said Azam Khan.

“Improvements in the business environment can also play a significant role, helping to attract much needed investments in areas with high growth potential in the country, such as agribusiness and tourism,” said Khan.

In a statement, Fidelis Magalhães' office explains that the memorandum of understanding “aims to support efforts to improve the business environment in East Timor”, especially in the context of “heavy losses and losses in the economic area” due to the covid-19 pandemic .

“More than ever, it is necessary to continue the efforts that had already been initiated to simplify the lives of entrepreneurs and support the development of economic activities, the functioning of companies and the creation of jobs”, the note says.

It is about “projecting a 'new normality', in the current context, also in the economic area”, he emphasizes.

The memorandum allows an IFC consultancy team to continue to support the Government to “remove bureaucracy and obstacles to the development of economic activities and to support the adoption of reforms” needed in the country.

The measure is part of a program that aims to encourage more investment in the country, says Fidelis Magalhães.

Technical assistance, which runs until June 2022, is supported by the Governments of Australia and Japan.

The memorandum will focus on issues such as the reform and simplification of business licenses and other administrative requirements across the economy and in specific sectors, seeking to facilitate business.

ASP // ME

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