Tight Tonga Budget To Be Tabled In Parliament

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Minister welcomes public scrutiny of proposal

NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, June 5, 2012) – Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano received the 2012/2013 Budget from the Minister of Finance, Hon. Lisiate 'Akolo

Tonga's Minister of Finance, Hon. Lisiate 'Akolo presented a tight national budget of $332.2 million (US$185.5 million) to the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano on Friday morning, June 8, at the Cabinet Room, and gave the public an opportunity to see an overview before it is tabled into parliament this week.

The budget was approved by Cabinet in the absence of the Prime Minister while he was away on an overseas trip, and the presentation was to brief him.

The Minister also wanted the public to have an overview before the Budget was presented to the Speaker in the afternoon of June 8. In previous years the House has passed the budget before the public has access to it.

Reduced support

The $1.2 million (US$670,000) surplus shown in the 2012-12 estimated budget compares with a $25.4 million (US$14.2 million) deficit in the previous financial year 2011-12. The difference is significant when taking into account a drop in budget support funding from aid donors, from $27.9 million (US$15.6 million)in the last financial year to $22.5 million (US$12.6 million) in the coming financial year.

With regards to Public Debts there is a slight drop from $314.8 million (US$175.8 million) in the last financial year to $237 million (US$132.4 million) to the coming financial year.

The Minister wrote his budget statement under a theme, "Creating Opportunity in Extraordinary times".

In a new budgetary arrangement the Minister's 2012-13 Recurrent Estimated Budget is divided into seven ministerial groupings under new titles:

With their allocations government ministries are expected to achieve at least one of the following nine objectives, which has been stipulated in the Tonga Strategic Development Framework:

The budget will be presented to the House this week.

It remains to be seen how much of these allocations will be spent on facilitating the public services with government spending on goods and private sector services, and the percentage that will be reserved for the civil service salaries. During the last financial year, as high as 97% of allocation for some ministries went on salaries.

At the press conference the Prime Minister said that about $10m (US$5.59 m) foreign currency earning came into Tonga through the Tonga Defence Services peace keeping mission in Afghanistan and a substantial amount is paid by Australia for the TDS peace keeping in the Solomon Islands.

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