The Tongan government says it hopes to find the money for a more substantial pay rise for civil servants after some key government agencies have been privatised.
There's been criticism of a recent salary review which handed out a 64 per cent pay rise to heads of department, and only five per cent to other civil servants.
But the government says the 64 per cent was to compensate heads for going on to short term contracts.
The Cabinet secretary, Eseta Fusitua, says the five per cent was an interim measure until a more extensive pay review could be carried out.
She says between now and December the government plans to corporatise and privatise some agencies such as printing, which will move millions of dollars off the government's books.
"When that occurs, then government will have the money to then increase the salaries to the level which they really desire."