26 Feb 2008

Tongan finance minister forced to resign

3:13 pm on 26 February 2008

The Tongan Government has announced today that it asked the Minister of Finance, Siosiua 'Utoikamanu, to step down.

His resignation was revealed earlier but no explanation was given at the time.

Now the Information Minister Afu'alo Matoto says the Government told him to go.

Mr 'Utoikamanu, a former Governor of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, has been driving an economic reform programme, which includes a recently launched consumption tax.

Our correspondent says Mr 'Utoikamanu and the Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele have regularly voiced differences over the programme.