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Timor-Leste seeks more investors from Brunei
TIMOR-LESTE is keen on receiving more visits from Bruneian business to explore potential economic and investment opportunities, the country’s senior government official said yesterday.
In an interview with local media, Constancio Pinto (pic), Timor-Leste’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Environment, said that his country is trying to attract more investments from other countries, including Brunei, to boost its fledgling industries.
Currently, the former Portuguese colony heavily depends on oil and gas to run its economy. It is also partly supported by coffee exports to countries and multinational coffee companies.
Pinto said that Bruneian companies can look out for opportunities for energy exploration in Timor-Leste which has large untapped oil and gas reserves.
“We’ve done surveys and there’s plenty of oil and gas both onshore and offshore.
“In terms of quantity, we still need to do more surveys to determine (amounts) but we know that there’s a big reservoir of oil and gas,” he told local media at The Orchid Garden Hotel.
Pinto is in the country for a four-day visit to meet with various government agencies, private sector companies and to attend the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit 2016 which Brunei is hosting.
He also mentioned potential cooperation in the area of Halal food, having seen developments from Brunei in the area. “Although it is small but it’s a start and we welcome any Bruneian companies that may want to invest in Timor- Leste in this sector,” he added.
Pinto said there are still plenty of land that can be used in Timor-Leste.
There had been representatives from Bruneian companies that visited Timor-Leste’s capital of Dili to meet with various parties, he said, including members of parliament.
“There were discussions about oil and gas and I hope that there will be more of these visits.”
He also listed other areas for potential cooperation with the sultanate such as in the areas of environmental conservation and capacity building.
Pinto said Timor-Leste has invested a large amount in developing human capital to ensure that its residents are equipped with the necessary skills.
“Language is also not a problem as Timor-Leste uses Bahasa Indonesia to communicate,” he added.
Despite being rich in natural resources, Timor-Leste’s development is hampered by lack of infrastructure such as good roads.
Pinto said that the country will see the construction of a new port next year by French conglomerate Bollore Transport and Logistics in Tibar which is located near Dili.
Once completed, he said, the port will become a transit point for ships going to the Pacific.
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