5 Jun 2015

Tonga govt present bigger budget than last year

8:39 am on 5 June 2015

Tonga's public servants are in for a pay rise with a more than 2.4 million US dollars boost in the first budget of the Akilisi Pohiva government.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZ

Matangi Tonga reports the budget of 242 million US dollars has been announced by the Minister of Finance 'Aisake Eke in the Legislative Assembly.

New charges are to be imposed on foreign exchange and a large increase in airport tax to raise funds for the 2019 Pacific Games.

The 2015-16 budget is about 6 million US dollars more than the previous year's budget.

The Minister said 47 percent of the budget will be funded by government with the remainder coming from development partners.

Matangi Tonga reports the full budget details will not be made public until after the Assembly passes the bill.

Education and health are the sectors getting the greatest percent from the budget while spending on constituency development programmes is also up.

The Budget includes a special fund to help Tonga pay for the hosting of the 2019 Pacific Games, with departure tax rise over the next five years by just under $US50.

It also proposes increases in charges on foreign currency exchange, with the expectation foreign currency providers will cut their margins.

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