20 Oct 2011

Tongan foreign aid project lacks forethought, says MP

3:11 pm on 20 October 2011

A Tongan member of parliament says a new foreign aid project to help solve Nuku'alofa's infrastructure issues lacks a maintenance budget.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua, who represents one of the Nuku'alofa constituencies, says the capital desperately needs the 12 and a half million US dollar grant from the Asian Development Bank and the Australian government aid agency, AusAID.

However, he is concerned that there are no plans for the long-term maintenance of the infrastructure.

"We appreciate this kind of foreign assistance but I think at the same time they have to also address the sustainablility of this project in the long run, because once they are put in place our government and taxpayers are responsible for their maintenance. And that can be quite expensive and difficult to maintain, which leads to further problems in the future."

Dr Halapua says the upgrade of services, such as water supply and solid waste, is expected to begin next year.