1 Jul 2011

Tonga's budget falls US$20m dollars short

6:09 am on 1 July 2011

The Tonga legislature passed the 2011 budget at the last possible moment yesterday ensuring workers can continue to be paid from today.

The Budget is for 170 million pa'anga or nearly 100 million US dollars and government income is set to fall nearly 20 million US dollars short.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, reports the government's hoping that foreign aid donors will make up the shortfall.

And he confirms the government will close the Wellington High Commission and possibly others, in a effort to cut spending.

"It's a drop in the ocean though. They are going to close down Wellington, they are thinking of closing Canberra as well as the embassy in London, though information that we have been passed is that the embassy in Canberra may be moved to Bangkok, where they may operate cheaply and take care of Tonga's affairs from there."