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The Tongan government has a clear economic vision for the country, despite the king saying there did not appear to be one, Parliament was told this week.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, told Parliament the government’s economic vision was put under the second part of the Tonga Strategic Development Framework, which runs from 2015 – 2025.
It was a national vision titled: “A more progressive Tonga supporting higher quality of life for all”, Hon. Tu’i’onetoa said.
The Minister made his comments in the House after King Tupou VI said during a speech to open Parliament on May 30 that the economy seemed to suffer from a lack of vision.
The Minister told the House the government had created nine goals under the national vision as launch pads for implementing its economic activities for the next three years including the new financial year which will begin in July, and the remaining two years of the government’s term of office.
The Minister was only able to talk about two of the nine goals in Parliament before his time was up. The Speaker told him he could continue on the following day.
The first goal was an improvement of the government’s public services made under public sector reform. The government wanted to understand the outcomes it gained from its spending and products made.
He said the government sectors were expected to follow these reforms according to laws and guidelines to encourage better public services and good governance.
These could only work in a good governmental and political structure and the six new bills the government recently submitted to the House were part of the government’s vision to make its public sector reform a success, Tu’i’onetoa said.
The appointment of the Attorney General which came into effect in June 2019 was part of this reform.
The Minister said the government wanted to deliver better education and health support to the smaller outer islands through the internet. He said the internet fibre cable did not reach these islands and work was underway to install a government sponsored satellite company to cater for the plan.
The government was also working to develop the informal sector.
Tu’i’onetoa said it was important to look after poor people and urge them to trade and move into the formal sector.
The Minister said that doing so could create more economic activities which could boost the economy as a whole.
“It is estimated 80 per cent or over of the country are in this category,” the Minister told Parliament.
“This was a vision of the Prime Minister and the government to develop this sector so that people could work hard and trade.”
Tu’i’onetoa said it had been proved worldwide that this policy could help these people to have a better life.
The foreword to the government’s budget for 2018/19 said:
“The strategic thrust for the 2018/19 budget is to promote growth, enhance economic diversification, and create job opportunities, which are necessary to improve the standard of living of Tongans.”
The Minster said some of these reforms and vision to develop the country’s economy could take years before they showed outcomes....
SOURCE: KANIVA TONGA NEWS/PACNEWS
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