29 Jul 2014

Tonga government denies PSA claims

1:00 pm on 29 July 2014

The Tongan government says claims by the Public Service Association that the Cabinet has approved the outright sale of two of Tonga's orbital slots are false.

The PSA has called for the deal to be scrapped and is accusing the finance minister, Clive Edwards, of lying.

Indira Moala has more.

The PSA's secretary general Mele 'Amanaki has claimed that the orbital slots are national assets, but the International Telecommunications Union, which assigns slots, says they cannot be bought, sold or owned by any country indefinitely. Mr Edwards says the last agreement earned the government no money and Tongasat will now hand over its rights back to the government. He says the government will be given two transponders with a revenue of 450,000 US dollars a year and another payment of 2.6 million. Mr Edwards says it will lease out the transponders to the company APT and the annual revenue will be $1.2 million US dollars for the next 25 years. He says Ms 'Amanaki is making false allegations without understanding the agreement.