23 Apr 2007

Tongan finance ministers asks departments to lower budget bids

3:09 pm on 23 April 2007

Tonga's government has been warned that departmental budgets for the next year will have to be dramatically trimmed to ensure the country avoids a financial crisis.

The finance minister, Siosiua 'Utoikamanu, says budgetary requests of about 82 million US dollars have been received but projected income is about 71 million.

He says a budget deficit can lead to a major deterioration in the strength of the Pa'anga, capital outflows, rising inflation and negative economic growth.

Mr Utoikamanu says all government agencies need to take heed of the potential for a fiscal crisis and reduce their spending requests.