15 Jan 2007

Tonga's Labour Commerce and Trade minister optimistic about foreign investors

6:56 pm on 15 January 2007

Tonga's minister of Labour, Commerce and Trade, Lisiate Akolo says he remains optimistic about attracting foreign investment back to Tonga.

The New Zealand company Northpower announced last week it was pulling out of negotiations to buy the government owned power company, Shoreline.

Mr Akolo says while the November 16 riots has impacted on investor confidence, there has been good progress made on rebuilding the central business district and local businesses, at a cost of US$200 million.

"Certainly we would have to look at the issue of safety and security before foreign investors will be willing to come to Tonga and we will be doing a lot of work to build up the confidence of investors to come to Tonga, and while it is a challenging job for us, we are confident we can do it."

Lisiate Akolo says surveys to rebuild and restore the business sector in Nukualofa are almost complete.