12 Jun 2014

Tonga budget relies heavily on aid

10:09 am on 12 June 2014

Tonga's biggest annual budget of 483.7 million Pa'anga or $US259 million has been presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Dr 'Aisake Eke, who also added that 59 percent of it will be financed from aid donors.

The 2014-2015 National Budget is 35 percent more than the 2013-2014 budget of more than $US191 million.

Matangi Tonga online reports the budget is also a historical document in that 59 percent of it is financed with budget support funding from aid donors, and the remaining 41 percent from Tonga's own financial resources.

Dr Eke told the House the government would finance its portion of the budget with earnings from the sales of $US13 million of government bonds.

The aid donors who will finance 59 percent of Tonga's 2014-2015 national budget are: the World Bank, Japan, China, the Asian Development Bank, Australia, NZ, the EU, Australia, the Forum Secretariat, UNDP, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the World Health Organisation, and there are also unconfirmed donors.

A Tongatapu People's Representative, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, has expressed his concern over the reliance of Tonga on foreign aid donors to balance the national budget.