Despite Tonga relying on overseas donors to fund 54% of its budget 2013/14, a proposal by the government last week will give civil servants a 40% cost of living allowance if it is approved.
Tonga government has more than 3000 workers in which overseas countries including Australian government assists in funding salary for certain ministries including the Ministry of Health, Police and Education.
About 75% of the government annual budget is allocated to pay salaries and wages for its workers.
In last July the Asian Development Bank recommends in a new economic report that for Tonga to get its economy back on track it has to reduce the size of its public service and a reduction of the wage bill to 45%.
The COLA proposal is the first time in eight years the government considered its civil servants salaries and wages since the pay rise in 2005. More than 10,000 Tongans took to the street to support public servant strikers who went on strike at the time after the government announced that only the top levels of civil servant hierarchy would receive pay increases.
The strikers finally returned to work after agreeing with the government to a proportional 60,70,80 per cents pay rise, a move that analysists say it was one of the factors that contribute to an on-going battle by the Tongan government to revive its economy.
Request for comment was sent to Treasury but was redirected to the PSA CEO Dr. Palenitina Langa’oi. Kaniva News has not received any response yet.