Tonga Unable To Pay Higher COLA For Public Sector

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Government needs $1.3 million to pay 5% increase: minister

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 31, 2013) – Tonga's minister of finance, Lisiate 'Akolo, says the government does not yet have the money to pay a five percent cost of living adjustment, or COLA, for public servants.

The government has agreed to the pay rise, which was cut back from 20 percent after the intervention of the World Bank.

It had advised Tonga could not afford such an increase.

Radio Tonga reports the minister has told local media the rise was calculated by the Public Service Commission, without input from his ministry.

But he says the government will try to ensure that it collects the amount of money needed.

Mr 'Akolo says to meet the five percent due from next month the government needs another US$1.3 million in income or to substantially cut costs in other areas.

A second five percent COLA is scheduled for the second half of next year.

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