His Majesty King Tupou VI today stressed the need for Government to prioritize its development goals. In moving forward, Government must assess its current financial situation. This is simply because our local market cannot sustain our balance of payments.

King Tupou VI made the remarks when He officially opened the 2022 parliamentary session via a livestream feed from the Royal Residence in ‘Eua this morning. His Majesty stated that petroleum (fuel) and food products are Tonga’s largest imports. He suggested that “fuel can be offset to a certain extent with renewable energy priorities. However, Government must support local production of foods, legislate, protect, and develop both the agricultural and fisheries sectors.”

The King also highlighted the need for the government to prioritise private sector development, and for our people to be healthy and educated in order for Tonga to advance towards achieving our development goals. COVID-19 also remains a serious and immediate risk to all citizens as well as illicit drugs.

The challenge for the new MPs in this new parliamentary term is to address and tackle these issues; to be led by this government who shall be held accountable by Parliament.

The King wishes MPs well in performing their legislative duties under the guidance of God for the good of Tonga and its people.

Following the Opening Address, the Acting Speaker Lord Tu’iha’angana announced the Members of the Select Committee who are charged with preparing a response to His Majesty’s address.

They are as follows.

Lord Fakafanua (Ha’apai No 2. Noble Representative), Lord Vaea (Tongatapu No. 1 Noble Representative) and Lord Tu’ilakepa (Vava’u No. 2 Noble Representative) – Nobles’ bench.

Lord Tu’iha’angana is the reserve Member.

Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni (Hon. Prime Minister), Hon. Tatafu Moeaki (Minister of Finance & National Planning), and Hon. Saia Piukala (Minister of Health) – From Cabinet.

Deputy Prime Minister – Hon. Poasi Tei is the reserve Member.

Hon. Tevita Puloka (Tongatapu 1 MP), Hon. Dr. ‘Aisake Eke (Tongatapu 5 MP) and Dr. Taniela Fusimalohi (‘Eua 11 MP) – People Representatives’ bench.

The reserve Member is Dr. ‘Uhilamoelangi Fasi.

The Select Committee will meet at 10:00am tomorrow to discuss Parliament’s reply to the King’s address.

Parliament will convene on Thursday for the swearing in of the new MPs and for the appointment of a Whole House Committee Chairperson.

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