15 Jan 2019

Tonga minister open to discuss controls over foreign exchange

5:27 pm on 15 January 2019

Tonga's Finance minister, Pohiva Tu'ionetoa, says he is open to looking at the country's new Foreign Exchange Control Act.

Tongan pa'anga bills stacked background.

Photo: ppart/123RF

The act has been criticised by businesses but Mr Tu'ionetoa said it was aimed at ensuring Tonga has sufficient foreign reserves.

Businesses fear it will undermine their activities and at least one is promising to cut back substantially.

Mr Tu'ionetoa said previously many exporters didn't bring the earnings back into the country and the act requires that up to 60 percent of profits should be repatriated.

The minister said while the changes had been made for the benefit of all the country he was willing to discuss the businesses concerns with them.

"I am trying to discuss these issues to see whether their underlying accounts indicate what they profess to be doing - to be the actual reasoning of their argument against this particular control."

Pohiva Tu'ionetoa said the exchange control changes may not be the basis of the businesses concerns.