IMF SAYS TONGAN ECONOMY ON MEND

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But recovery remains fragile

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Tonga Broadcasting Commission, April 22, 2008) –The government last Friday welcomed the findings by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Tongan economy was on a path to economic recovery.

The Honourable Minister of Finance Afu'alo Matoto says the announcement is a tribute to the government's careful economic management and the hard work of ordinary Tongans.

According to the Finance Minister, Tonga has endured difficult times due to falling squash exports, the public sector strike, wage settlement and redundancies and the event of 16/11th 2006 [November 16, 2006 riots in Nukualofa]. He also says the government has weathered these storms and can now reap the benefits of recovery.

The Finance Minister noted that while the findings were good news, the economic recovery remained fragile.

Hon. Afu'alo says, IMF has confirmed that the government has brought the economy back to historic growth rates, and these growth rates are no longer good enough.

The IMF visits all nations on a regular basis to assess their economic performance and offer advice on economic policies.

Meanwhile head of the IMF Article Mission Olin Liu says, this year's visit concluded that the Tongan economy showed resilience following the economic shocks of 2006, and is now returning to long term positive economic growth. She says the key factor on it, is the private investment.

According to Miss Liu, Tongans deserve a higher stand of living.

Information from the Finance Minister also says, to achieve a higher standard of living, we must diversify our exports to reduce our vulnerability to economic shocks. He also stated, as a government they must provide essential infrastructure, operate prudent fiscal policies and ensure that our laws encourage private sector-led growth.

The Honourble Minister says today's findings show that we have earned a second chance and to exploit it we must all ensure that peace and order are maintained.

The Minister concluded by thanking the IMF for their fair assessment and guidance for going forward.

Tongan Broadcasting Company: http://69.64.78.143/index.php

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