20 May 2020

Tonga's PM proposes MPs take a pay cut

6:43 am on 20 May 2020

Tonga's prime minister has proposed MPs take a 20 percent pay cut as the country faces a record deficit.

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa made the proposal as parliament met for the presentation of the government's budget.

Finance minister Tevita Lavemaau presented the US$253 million budget, with a forecast US$25 million deficit for the year ahead.

Mr Lavemaau said he thinks this is Tonga's biggest budget deficit ever.

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa. Photo: Tonga government

He added that a US$181 million loan from China is due to be paid in 2024, suggesting that Tonga plead with Beijing to cancel the repayment.

Parliament will debate the proposed salary reduction.