Statements: Lord Prime Minister

A list of the latest speeches and addresses made by the Lord Tu'ivakano, the Prime Minister of Tonga. Full transcripts is available on the website. For more information: please contact the Prime Minister's Office on (676) 24644 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Prime Minister addresses First Meeting of the Legislature

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14 January 2011 Following his salutations, the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano announced the current operations and strategic plans of the new Government. Please note that we are publishing here excerpts translated from his address highlighting the main issues with sub-titles.

1.         CABINET HAS FORMED A COMMITTEE  FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS.

"Since the historic election on December 22nd 2010 in which I was elected Prime Minister of the first Democratically elected Government and nominations for a new Cabinet, two Cabinet meetings have convened, in which Members were busy in reorganizing and setting goals and strategic plans for their respective Ministries, aimed at providing a better service for the people. In the meantime, Cabinet has set up a Committee to look into the Economic Development of the country and to ensure that the new Government's port folios are in-alignment with the Political Reform."

2.         ESTIMATE  ALLOCATION  TARGETS  WERE  ACHIEVED  EXCEEDINGLY.

The Estimate for the Income in the Budget for July 2010 to be collected by the Ministry of Revenue Collection during 2010-2011 was TOP$109,800,000 million. For the first six-months of the  current fiscal year (1st July 2010 - 31st. Dec 2010) the allocation amounted to T$56,249,766 and this was exceeded by T$903,839  to a total of T$57,153,605 for the same period of time.

Mr. Speaker, we anticipate that the national Revenue for the remaining six-months of this financial year will yield much more than what the Ministry of Revenue Collection has allocated. The Ministry also hopes to work hand-in-hand with the new Government's and other Ministries' recommendations on measures to further improve the Revenue collection, such as that from the Public Enterprises. There are 12 Public Enterprises owned by Government and the total value of it's Assets and Investments is worth T$264,446,000.00 million, but with an interest of only 0.3 % of the total amount that was invested. This is not a good investment and efforts are being sought, to yield a new interest target of 10% or more.

3.         PRIVATIZE THOSE BUSINESSES THAT AREN'T MAKING PROFITS.

A few of the Public Enterprises are not making any profits and it's future is also hopeless, so the Government has decided to close down two Government owned-businesses, and they are the Tonga Timber Limited and the Janful Dateline Hotel Limited. Investigations on how these businesses failed  are ongoing and what would be a better solution to recover and get back on their feet and earn more revenue for Government. It is very important that these businesses should improve financially so that less taxes are levied upon the people.

4.         CIVIL SERVANTS, ARE MORE PROFESSIONAL POLITICALLY, NEEDS TRAINING.

The Civil Servants have excelled and are more professional in their tasks following the Political Reforms and enjoying their freedom to join in the political changes in Tonga focusing on improving the performance of their duties. In this change of Government, the Public Service Commission has reviewed some of the regulations and procedures to coincide with the new Government's objectives..

The total number of Civil Servants, as of June 3rd. 2010 was 3,258, with the Ministry of Education employing 31% and the Ministry of Health in second place with 27% of the total. Of the total Revenue collected each year, about 49% are paid out as Salaries and Wages for Civil Servants. Government has set a ceiling of 51%  to limit the amount to be paid to Civil Servants. We are looking at reducing this to only 45% soon."

Government is arranging workshops for Government employees on Capacity Building with more training on how to improve their performance and customer-services to the public. These workshops will continue until July 2011 or until their performance have greatly improved.

5.         GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH AN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION.

Government has agreed to set up a Commission to deal with the alleged corruption practices and fraudulence charges in this country. The new Government is very supportive of this move and funds to finance the Commission's operations are being sought. Mr. Speaker, in developing our country, this new Government  hopes to build a nation which is safe, in order, developed, secured and prosper, in order for Tongans to have equal opportunities and thus achieved the hopes they have envisaged for the future.

6.         TONGA TO BECOME THE MOST HEALTHY NATION BY 2020.

"The three main cornerstones of our Society are Health, Education and Security. The overall Vision of the Ministry of Health is that Tongans to enjoy healthy lifestyles that are suitable for everyone and lasting for years as maintained by the employees of the Ministry. The Ministry's objective focuses on developing Tonga to become the healthiest nation in the whole Pacific by the year 2020 !!

The construction  and refurbishment of Vaiola Hospital is ongoing smoothly and will be completed by March 2012 as well as the Health Clinics at Tatakamotonga and Vaini. The finance for this project is not inclusive in the Ministry's Estimates for this fiscal year as it is being funded by the Government of Japan, totaling T$49,903,086.00

The standard of care for patients have improved dramatically and all employees are enjoying their work environment in the hospital. The government will also refurbish the hospitals in the outlying islands in the Kingdom, for the Government believes in the saying, : " The most precious possession a country could have is a healthy population."

7.         EDUCATION IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The government allocates a total of T$42,940,270 for the Ministry of Education, Women Affairs and Culture. This does not include the Ministry of Training, Employment Youths and Sports whose annual Budget is only 2.4 million Pa'anga, not including the grants and assistance from Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey which increased it to a total of T$7,017,321.00.

These figures and budget allocations clearly shows the Government's concern to develop the welfare and health of our younger generation. In the near future Government will develop and assist the Schools in training students in life skills which could help them find employment here in Tonga and abroad.  Government is also looking at providing further financial assistance to mission schools and the new Minister of Education continues to upgrade and reorganize the the Ministry's operations in developing education in the Kingdom.

8.         KEEPING THE PEACE, LAW AND ORDER AND MAINTAINING OUR ECONOMY .

Keeping the peace, law and order are fostering unity and collaboration in our community and Government is improving the services and equipping the Police Force  in an effort to lower the increasing rates of crimes in the country. Members of the Tonga Defense Services will stand-by to assist in securing peace and safety within the Kingdom.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to announce that despite the effects of the Global economy the Government can still achieve, as I mentioned earlier, the targets in Revenue collection that was allocated in the Budget.  Our economy is declining because we have very little money in our domestic reserve as we have only a few local industries where the people can find jobs and to earn a living. Despite this tragic situation of our economy, the Government will find ways to provide more employment opportunities for our people.

9.         INCREASE OUR FOOD PRODUCTION FOR EXPORTS AND  DEVELOP TOURISM .

For the next two months, Government will find ways to assist farmers to increase food production for exports during the winter months in New Zealand and Australia where the market's demand increases, fetching a better price. More details about this transaction will be available at the end of March when the trade agreement with both countries are finalized.

The Ministry of Tourism plays an important role in developing our economy nowadays and in the future. Construction work on the new Vuna Wharf and Marina is still progressing well according to plans and when completed, it will dramatically increased the number of tourists arriving on cruise liners and yachts in Nuku'alofa. In the meantime, a number of foreign Investors have expressed their interests in building several new hotels and renovating the Janful Dateline also.  A new terminal and restaurants will be build onshore at Vuna Wharf  to cater for tourists and visitors to our shores.

10.       OIL IMPORTS AND  RENEWABLE ENERGY FROM SOLAR OR WIND POWER.

Oil is one of the fuel for power generation which in turn plays an important role in our national development into the future. The Government is seeking countries where we can buy oil at a lower price to avoid the fluctuations in the local price of fuel.  Another new  depot is needed for fuel storage, whilst the negotiations on renewable energy is ongoing to use solar and wind power.

11.       GOVERNMENT IS DOING IT'S BEST IN IMPLEMENTING THE POLITICAL REFORMS

The new Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Fisheries, is seeking ways to increase the revenue they can generate to boost our economy. The new Government, Mr. Speaker, has done a lot during it's first week in office and will continue to work diligently to improve and implement the Political Reforms which has changed our nation and wellbeing.

I am willing to work closely together and in collaboration with you all throughout this year's session of the House and my best wishes to you Mr. Speaker and all Members of Parliament.

Tu'a'ofa atu

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.

Last Updated ( Monday, 25 July 2011 10:29 )
 
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