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E. Timor advisory panel adopts fiscal, public service rules.

DILI, East Timor, Jan. 21 Kyodo

An advisory panel on East Timorese affairs has adopted regulations outlining policies on currency exchange licensing, public service and business registration in the territory, a U.N. spokesman said Friday.

The National Consultative Council (NCC) adopted the three regulations signed during a two-day meeting that ended Thursday, Manoel de Almeida, spokesman for the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), said.

The regulations are aimed at controlling currency exchange transactions, facilitating the creation of a system of public services administration and registering businesses in East Timor, he said.

The 14-member NCC, headed by UNTAET administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, agreed at the meeting to create a currency exchange bureau.

The bureau will oversee currency exchange transactions, including the sale and purchase of currencies, traveler's checks and similar instruments which have been issued with a currency exchange license by the Central Payments Office, to be established by UNTAET.

The regulation stresses that the bureau cannot act as an authorized dealer in gold, engage in money-lending, maintain currency accounts on behalf of customers, establish letters of credit, or deal in the currency market.

According to the regulation, the currency exchange bureau is restricted to spot transactions only.

"Nothing in this regulation shall diminish the powers, rights and obligations of currency exchange bureaus operated by commercial banks in East Timor which have been licensed or authorized by UNTAET to operate banking facilities," it says.

NCC member Akira Takahashi, UNTAET's deputy chief for humanitarian and emergency rehabilitation, said in an interview that the NCC has yet to decide what currency will be used.

The Indonesian rupiah is still being used by East Timorese. U.S. and Australian dollars are also being used in some businesses.

The NCC also agreed to create a public service commission to oversee the functions of the East Timor administration, including its composition and terms of office.

"It shall be independent in the exercise of its functions," the regulation says, adding that the transitional administrator may consult the commission on matters concerning East Timor's civil service.

The public service commission is tasked with formulating personnel policies and guidelines, including those related to recruitment, appointments and promotions, salaries, benefits, pensions, and other terms of employment.

The regulation will outline the rights and obligations of civil servants and other public employees, as well as disciplinary procedures and sanctions for them. These will be incorporated in a future statute governing civil service employment.

Pending the establishment of judicial procedures to hear labor and administrative disputes, the regulation says the commission can arbitrate in such cases.

The regulation on the registration of businesses in East Timor lays down the ground rules for establishing businesses in the ravaged territory, and addresses matters such as applying for registration, registration fees and penalties.

Takahashi said the NCC has yet to discuss ways to streamline the territory's civil servants, how to build the judicial system and how to implement a new taxation system.

"These will all be discussed in the next meetings," he said.

Established by the United Nations in December, the NCC is intended to give East Timorese a voice in the decision-making process during the transition to independence.

NCC members include representatives from UNTAET, the National Council of the Timorese Resistance (CNRT), the Catholic Church, and of political groups other than the CNRT.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Jan 24, 2000
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