5 Mar 2007

Tonga plans unit to finance Nukualofa reconstruction

4:54 pm on 5 March 2007

The government of Tonga is considering setting up a publicly owned commercial entity to raise the capital needed for the rebuilding of the central business district of Nuku'alofa.

Tens of millions of dollars will be needed following the destructive riots in November last year.

The transport minister, Paul Karalus, says they are looking at the possibility of a city corporation which could borrow to pay for the construction and then lease the buildings back to the businesses.

"We have a liquidity scarcity in the banking system. We have also too, some doubt now, very much, on the payout of any insurance and so on, so in order to meet that liquidity problem, this is probably the most likely way that we going to have to take."

Paul Karalus says the corporate approach would help ensure that the reconstruction was of a high quality.