On February 19 to 21, the Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB) organized the Philippine Construction Industry Trade Mission to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, which was headed by Mr. Isidro Consunji and assisted by POCB Executive Director Engr. Sonia Valdeavilla as the mission project manager. The Philippine Ambassador to Timor-Leste also extended its logistical support and assistance to the delegation on networking.
Business Development Manager Mr. Rafael Hernandez, First Balfour’s representative to the trade mission, joined the group of Filipino construction and consultancy company representatives to obtain a first-hand experience in exploring various business opportunities in Timor-Leste. The delegates paid courtesy calls to key government officials such as Minister of Public Works Gastão Francisco de Sousa, Minister of Transport and Communications Pedro Lay da Silva, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Constâncio da Conceição Pinto, and Secretary of State for the Support and Promotion of the Private Sector Veneranda Lemos Martins. The entire group also had a networking lunch with the officials and members of the Chamber of Commerce of Timor-Leste.
A lot of opportunities were initially identified during our three-day stay in Timor-Leste. Having faced great challenges in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure since its 1999 independence (about 70% of the economic infrastructure was destroyed during war for Independence), significant resources from the government, donor agencies (ADB, World Bank, JICA, AusAid), and the private sector keep flowing towards construction or rehabilitation of various infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges, housing, schools, hospitals, and government offices.
Based on their Strategic Development Plan, the government plans to allocate over US$ 868 million to its infrastructure fund in 2014. Major items of the infrastructure fund are: 1.) US$ 173.9 million allocated to improve electricity generation, transmission and distribution; 2.) US$ 139.4 million allocated to develop three industrial clusters on the South Coast which will form the backbone of Timor-Leste’s petroleum industry (Tasi Mane Project); 3.) US$ 156.8 million allocated to roads, bridges, port and airport. In addition, each line ministry has budget allocations for smaller infrastructure projects amounting to approximately US$ 140 million.
Being one of the largest and most reputable construction companies in the Philippines, it is now time for First Balfour to share its experience and expertise to its neighboring countries. First Balfour envisions to take advantage of the abundant business opportunities in Timor-Leste, and contribute to the country’s nation-building. The company is open to forge ties with the existing and potential companies interested to participate in various construction projects.