18 Mar 2008

Tonga records drop in remittances

11:39 am on 18 March 2008

Tonga's Minister of Public Enterprises and Information, Afualo Matoto, says the economy is struggling because of a drop in exports, and more recently remittances.

The Tongan pa'anga has been steadily losing ground against other currencies.

The rising cost of oil is also impacting on the economy.

Mr Matoto says remittances are crucial to the survival of Tonga's economy especially when exports are down.

"It helps to provide the balance in the balance of payments, otherwise there will be a big deficit in the balance of payments. But at the same time a lot of our people rely on remittances, particularly when exports are not great. It is difficult to export at the moment and the trade gap has been widening all the time so without remittances we'd probably find it extremely difficult."

Tonga's Minister of Information, Afualo Matoto.