6 Mar 2013

ADB says Tonga should factor in drop in remittances

3:43 pm on 6 March 2013

An economist for the Asian Development Bank in Tonga says a challenge for policy makers in Nuku'alofa is growing the economy while being less dependent on remittances.

A new labour market study on the demand for skills training in Tonga says emigration is vital to boosting Tonga's economy because of increases in employment and remittances.

The ADBs economist in Tonga, Laisiasa Tora, says the economy has not being doing well in recent years and says the report advocates emigration as a way of increasing remittances and taking advantage of higher paying jobs overseas.

"I think a couple of months ago the Central Bank governor also came out and said look we need to start thinking about how we can get our economy to grow in an environment and landscape where remittances isn't likely to play a significant role that it used to."

Laisiasa Tora says high unemployment is likely to continue in the foreseeable future, partly due to slow economic growth.