June 21st, 2022, the Minister of Finance, Rui Gomes, together with the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Roy Trivedy and the Head of the IOM Mission in Timor-Leste, Ihma Shareef, launched the National Diaspora Engagement Policy and Remittance Mobilization Strategy.
This Policy and Strategy are an important document, produced for the first time in Timor-Leste, with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This document is part of the Joint United Nations Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) Programme, funded by the Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund.
The primary purpose of this important document is to provide some guidance to the Government of Timor-Leste, international partners and other stakeholders related to migrants and Timorese communities living in different nations around the world.
After the restoration of independence, remittances sent by Timorese workers from the United Kingdom, Australia and South Korea, have been very important for Timor-Leste's economy.
In 2018, remittances from Timorese communities working abroad represented the country's largest source of external revenue, after oil. In 2021, remittances from the diaspora were the second-largest source of revenue, after oil and gas, accounting for 8.7% of non-oil Gross Domestic Product.
Between 2013 and 2020, remittances from Timorese workers working abroad doubled, from US$34 million to US$150 million. By 2021, remittances from the diaspora reached US$170 million.
Therefore, remittances from the diaspora are very important in helping the Government diversify the economy.
“In my view, Diaspora remittances are an opportunity to diversify the economy and national sources of revenue, through the introduction and exploitation of securities (diaspora bonds) with short and medium-term maturity, which may allow financing important economic sectors, including tourism, agriculture, health and education”, said the Minister of Finance, Rui Gomes, in his opening speech at the launching ceremony of this important Policy and Strategy.
Originally published on Government of Timor-Leste website