11 Apr 2005

Tonga government says new port tariff arrangement better for businesses and importers

6:49 am on 11 April 2005

The Tongan government has moved to allay concern among importers and businesses over a 25 percent port tariff that came into effect last week.

The President of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce, Dr Sione Ngongo Kioa, says the increase comes on top of a 20% increase in port operation charges towards the end of last year.

There have also been concerns that the shipping tariffs would absorb savings that were to be made from a new 15% Consumption Tax.

But Tony Fakahau, a consultant on revenue reform in Tonga's treasury, says the net effect of the new arrangements is that there's actually been a significant reduction in costs at the port.

"Importers or businesses are going to be better off now, compared to the old regime. And the amount of the 25 percent increase is equivalent to about 50 dollars per container a year, compared to a four-thousand dollar decrease in costs, per container landed."