Construction Of New Government Building In Tonga Delayed

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Chinese funded ‘St George Palace’ waits until after coronation

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 6, 2015) – The construction of a new $25 million pa’anga [US$12.3 million] Government office building dubbed "St George Palace" at Pangai Si’i in the Nuku’alofa CBD, has been postponed until after the Coronation of King Tupou VI in July 2015.

The Tonga government and the People’s Republic of China agreed for the project in 2012, and construction was scheduled to start in July 2014 but was delayed until November last year.

Because most of the cultural activities relating to the coronation will be performed at Pangai Lahi and in central Nuku’alofa, it was decided that it would not be desirable to have the whole of Pangai Si’i and the Prime Minister’s Office barricaded during the coronation.

According to the Chinese Ambassador to Tonga at the time when the St George Palace construction agreement was signed, H.E Mr Wang Donghua, the three-storey Government office building would accommodate the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, to be funded with about $25 million (TOP) grant from the People’s Republic of China.

The CEO for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning said that the front part of both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Treasury would remain but both buildings would become part of the new office building.

At the end of December 2014 the Ministry of Finance vacated the Treasury building and were relocated at the Tungi Colonnade.

Xu Zhiguang the First Secretary at the Chinese Embassy also confirmed that a Shanghai construction company had been contracted for the job, and construction would start once a date was agreed on after the Coronation in July.

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