Tonga budget, with a huge deficit, passed early and unanimously

This article by is republished with permission under Kaniva News partnerships with Radio New Zealand

Tonga’s government has announced a 26 million US dollar deficit.

Parliament gathered last week for the country’s budget for the next year, heavy on promises of health spending, and infrastructure and agriculture programmes.

The economic situation in Tonga wasn’t great heading into Covid-19, but the loss of tourism, seasonal work and a reduction in remittances has made things even more pressing.

Finance minister, Tevita Lavema’au, laid out a plan for economic recovery, heading into an election next year.

Our correspondent in Nuku’alofa, Kalafi Moala, says it had the unanimous backing of parliament.

But he adds there are significant challenges to overcome telling Don Wiseman it’s Tonga’s largest ever deficit.

Tevita Lavemaau

Finance Minister Tevita Lavemaau Photo: Ministry of Revenue and Customs

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