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Parliament poised to raise company taxes

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 30, 2011) – Tonga's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) council will meet on Tuesday next week to decide on action after they learned this week that the parliament was considering a recommendation to increase company taxes.

The TCCI executive advised members that they had yesterday written to Speaker and all members of the Legislative Assembly expressing dismay at the proposal. The TCCI is concerned that the government is imposing new levies, fees and taxes without consultation with the people affected.

TCCI President, Aloma Johansson in the letter to parliament said that TCCI fully agreed with the People's Representative Sitiveni Halapua, as reported, that a proposal on increased company tax that came before the select committee on finance should first be put out for consultation before it was put to any vote.

On September 19 a report to the House from a parliamentary standing committee on its deliberation on a Bill to amend the Company Act, recommended an increase in company taxes. It was queried by the PR for Tongatapu Constituency No. 3, Sitiveni Halapua, who asked if there was any public consultation or a dialogue with the Private Sector before they proposed the increase in taxes. The chairman of the committee, the former Minister of Labour, Commerce and Industries, Lisiate 'Akolo told parliament that it was needed to balance the government budget.

Before their meeting on October 4 the TCCI council, "will be compiling a list of levies, fees, taxes that have been passed by Cabinet of Parliament as a basis of our grievances and deliberate neglect by Government to consult in advance," the executive advised members.

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