News Release

Tonga Now

November 20, 2006

NUKUALOFA, Tonga – The Tongan Cabinet’s Reconstruction Committee has established official committees to work on restoring essential services and rebuilding the commercial district in Nuku’alofa. Another committee will focus on stabilizing the economy by controlling fiscal expenditure and keeping the financial services operational. This will ensure business activity is not too disrupted during the reconstruction phase.

Cabinet and Senior Government officials are working round the clock to maintain public services as well as focusing on rebuilding the Nuku’alofa commercial centre. The Public Service is operating at reduced levels with a skeleton staff to bring all services to normality as soon as possible.

Some businesses may need government assistance in order to operate because damage caused by civil unrest is often not covered by insurance. This will be assessed by another committee to assess the emergency relief that may be required for those that were severely affected.

Damage assessment is being carried out to determine the full cost and to identify the immediate priorities that require urgent action. All committees are operating carefully but swiftly to gain results that would propel the reconstruction.

The next step is to assess the resource requirements for the development plans and budgets required to implement the reconstruction program.

Cabinet today reviewed the status of our resources to determine how it will maintain essential services such as communication links, food supplies, energy, and fuel. They also discussed schools and the safety of our students.

"The Government is determined to restore the Kingdom to normality as soon as possible. This is our main priority as we look towards rebuilding the damaged infrastructure and commercial centre," said the Attorney General. "We will be relentless in our efforts."

Tonga Now is the website of the Reform Information Office, a unit within the Office of the Minister of Finance. The unit was established to assist the Minister of Finance in disseminating information to the public.

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