THE Tonga Chamber of Commerce has highlighted two issues for the Ministry of Commerce & Trade to consider for any public consultation regarding a Bill on business.

1. For a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between TCCI, Trade & Commerce Ministry for a Private Public Dialogue (PPD). This is to ensure continued talks between the two parties on issues affecting businesses in Tonga. TCCI also proposes for Parliament to be a third party of the MOU.

2. For follow up consultation on any Bill relating to businesses to be conducted at the most current period. They claim the last public consultation on the Bill held was in 2016. Therefore TCCI recommends a follow up public consultation should have been carried out in the most up to dated time (2019).

This was highlighted in a report from the Hon. Commerce and Trade Minister Dr Tu’i Uata tabled in Parliament this morning.
This is one of the findings of the public consultation between the Government and

According to the report, TCCI was grateful for the Parliament’s decision to allow further consultation with the business community on the Bill.

To consult local businesses on the Bill, TCCI distributed the proposed Bill to them for their feedback. Upon receiving their response, TCCI compiled a report and distributed to the ministry concerned with the Bill.

TCCI reported because of the urgent need for the Bill to be enacted in Parliament, it was disseminated to the private sectors for their comments last Wednesday. The intention was to receive feedback from the businesses.

During the consultation with the business community last Thursday, President of TCCI Paula Taumoepeau asked the Commerce and Trade Ministry to allow them more time for the submission of their report. The Hon. Minister Dr Tu’i Uata approved their plea and for their submissions no later than 10am, Friday (February 22).

This however prompted TCCI to put in two of their recommendations for Government to consider regarding future public consultation on any Bill.

First for Government to consider signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between TCCI, Commerce and Trade Ministry and for Parliament to be a third party of the MOU. This is to ensure continued talks (Private Public Dialogue – PPD) between the two parties takes place to discuss issues affecting local businesses. They also claim such an initiative would be beneficial to further develop the private sector.

TCCI welcomes any opportunity from the Ministry of Commerce and Trade for more talks on the MOU. They also called on the Ministry for more time to allow key stakeholders sufficient time to read and well verse themselves with the Bill. TCCI also recommended a follow- up consultation on the Bill to be implemented in the most updated year.

TCCI reported that the Government conducted its last public consultation in 2016. They believe another follow up one should have conducted this year taking into consideration the changes nature of businesses from the previous consultation.

The deliberation on the findings of the consultation with the businesses continues.

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