The government said it would provide $15 vouchers for more than 160,000 customers in a bid to keep them in their homes. (Image/EDTL)

DILI, 30 March 2020 (TATOLI) – The Timor-Leste government is offering a $15 prepaid credit for more than 160,000 customers across the country to try to limit the need for people to leave their homes.

The Minister for Public Works, Salvador Eugênio Soares dos Reis Pires, said the free pulsa would help families comply with the measures in Saturday’s State of Emergency decree.

Minister for Public Works, Salvador Eugênio Soares dos Reis Pires.(Image/Florencio Miranda Ximenes)

“Ordinarily [EDTL] earns $2.4 million each month. As such, we have calculated we can provide the pulsa for a total of 160,555 clients – or every costumer in every district within Timor-Leste – the amount of 15 dollars,” Mr Salvador said, after meeting with the Electricity Distribution Timor-Leste (EDTL) team in Caicoli, Dili.

He said the ministry was working with telecommunication operators such as Timor-Telecom, Telemor no Telekomcel to deliver the vouchers by text.

“Our technical team spoke with the operators… then the clients can confirm their registration number to EDTL, before they send the TOKEN for the client to fill in their house,” he said.

A flyer explaining the Emergency Decree in Tetum (Image/KM)

Related news: PM Taur Tells Timor: Stay Home to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19

The Prime Minister has urged Timor residents and citizens to stay in their homes as much as possible to prevent the spread of the highly-infectious virus. Mr Salvador said the free tokens would avoid crowds of people gathering to buy electricity credit at the EDTL boxes dotted throughout Dili, and other parts of Timor.

“Now our Challenge is how to accelerate the system of sending the TOKEN to our client in every house in all territory,” he said.

The Minister said he expects technical preparations to send the tokens to each customer will be completed by Wednesday.

“I appeal to all consumer to be a little patient, as the government has put much effort to quickly [send] the subsidy to the customers,” he said.

In addition, he said, the ministry will provide a credit to clients whose Water and Sanitation Department bills are due in April.

Journalist: Florencio Miranda Ximenes

Editors: Robert Baird, Julia Chatarina

Translation: Nelia Borges

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