THE total budget for 2014/2015 financial year is TOP$483.7, according to the Hon. Finance and National Planning Minister, Hon. Dr. ‘Aisake Eke when presenting it to Parliament on Wednesday, June 11.

Of that amount, $302.7 million is the total proposed appropriation for the service of Government.

In presenting the estimate to the House Wednesday morning Dr. Eke said 59 percent of the 2014/15 Budget are in-kind support from Government and donor agencies which totalled at of $286.1 million.

The remainder of 41 percent will be funded from local financial resources.

Dr Eke said the 2014-2015 proposed budget is a 35 percent more of the 2013-2014 budget of $347.6million.

Speaking to MPs, the Hon. Finance Minister said the 2014/15 Budget focuses on four key areas including to support growth of productive sectors, community development, maintaining monetary and fiscal stability and improved governance and public administration.

Dr. Eke said this year’s Budget is founded on our national motto “God and Tong are my inheritance” and is supported by the Government’s theme “The Partnership –Government and People Together Building the Economy and Society.”
It’s theme is to improve Government delivery and accountability for better results for the people of Tonga through partnership.

“In line with the theme of Partnership, Government will seek to enhance mutual partnership within the public service, key partners in Tonga, Tongans living overseas, our development partners and our neighbouring islands in the Pacific,” according to the Budget Statement 2014/2015.

The Hon. Finance Minister also noted that core to Tonga’s future success is improving sustainable growth to increase employment and income for our people.

Dr. Eke also informed the House there is good indication that global economic growth is forecasted to strengthen over the next few years.

Tonga’s economic growth is expected to grow by about two percent at the end of the year, while three percent is predicted for growth in the 2014/15 financial year.

He also mentioned that all sectors including the primary, secondary and tertiary sector are expected to grow in the next financial year.

Agriculture and forestry sector is predicted to grow from 0.2 percent in the current budget to about two percent in the next financial year.

In the secondary sector, growth is forecasted to increase from four percent in the 2013/2014 Budget to about eight percent in the 2014/2015.
For the tertiary sector, the growth is expected to increase by 0.6 percent from 1.4 percent in the current financial year (2013/2014).

The House was also informed there is also good indication that commercial banks and the Tonga National Reserve Bank are collaborating in efforts to expand soft loans to key economic sectors and the business community.

Dr. Eke said with strengthening of the bank and non bank sectors and expanding lending, Government had managed to negotiate an opening the newly introduced Pacific International Commercial Bank.

He also announced that the earlier initiative of providing soft loans and some grants to key economic sectors will be expanded to provide a significant increase in soft loan to business.

This will be managed by the Tonga Tonga Development Bank who has the required skills for such a large expansion in lending.

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