US$1.4 BILLION BUDGET PASSED IN PAPEETE

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse/PINA, Dec. 19) - The Assembly of French Polynesia has passed a 170-billion French Pacific francs (around US$1.4 billion) preliminary budget for 2003

Major roadwork will be conducted in Tahiti thanks to the new budget and to the DGDE, the new name of the French economic restructuring fund created by France to compensate the end of nuclear tests in Moruroa (Tuamotu archipelago) in 1996.

Unlike the economic restructuring fund which was to last only 10 years, there will be no limit in time for the DGDE. The DGDE is to provide US$150 million each year to the government of French Polynesia.

The government stressed the fact that no new taxes were created for this new budget. However, taxes on wine and alcohol will be raised to support funds for road safety programs.

A 2 percent tax on imported goods, instead of 1 percent previously, will also be levied for environmental projects.

US$71 million will be devoted to social housing programs in Tahiti and in the other islands of French Polynesia.

The budget was passed by 28 votes for from the pro-autonomy Tahoeraa Huiraatira majority with eight votes against from the pro-autonomy Fetia Api and non-registered MPs. Pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira MPs did not take part in voting.

French Polynesian president Gaston Flosse said that the outlook for 2003 was still good despite international problems.

He added that tourism was still a top priority with new cruise ships expected in the weeks to come in the waters of French Polynesia.

Flosse also announced that Tahitian airline Air Tahiti Nui will get tax exemptions for the two new Airbus A340 planes expected in French Polynesia in April.

December 19, 2002

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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