20 Jun 2006

Tonga considers selling Westpac stake to balance budget

1:11 pm on 20 June 2006

The Tongan government is proposing to sell its shares in the Westpac Bank of Tonga to make up the total sum needed for a Budget Supplementary currently before the Legislative Assembly.

The Minister of Finance, Siosiua 'Utoikamanu, in tabling the bill this morning, said government needs 16 million US dollars to pay the balance for the public servants 60, 70 and 80 per cent pay rise as well as for redundancy packages.

He has told the House the funds needed will be accumulated from 5 million dollars left over from a loan in 2002 from the Asia Development Bank.

Debate on the Budget Supplementary Bill will continue this afternoon.