19 May 2015

Tongan PSA concerned about proposed airfare tax

11:00 am on 19 May 2015

Tonga's Public Service Association says it's concerned about a request by the Pacific Games Committee for the Government to implement a $100 airfare tax, to pay for the building of sports facilities.

The South Pacific Games will be held in Tonga in 2019.

The PSA says the Chair of the Committee and former Prime Minister, Fred Sevele, has suggested increasing the airfares of Tongans travelling overseas in an effort to raise $60.5 million US dollars to build the facilities.

Athletes pose with their delegations' respective flags during the Opening Ceremony for the 14th Pacific Games, in 2011, in New-Caledonia.

Athletes at the 2011 edition of the Pacific Games Photo: AFP

PSA President, Mele 'Amanaki, says the proposal is effectively a penalty for Tongans wishing to visit their families overseas, often to seek financial help.

He says the Government should be looking for aid donors, increase fines imposed on criminals, double the duty on alcohol and cigarettes, and put a freeze on further investments by public enterprsies.

Mr 'Amanaki has also suggested a new 25 percent income tax for people earning more than $50,000 US dollars a year.

He says the PSA is also concerned that the Government has not properly investigated allegations of misspending of the Chinese loan to rebuild Nuku'alofa, which was handled by Mr Sevele's government.