27 Jun 2007

Tonga government to chase businesses for tax arrears

10:24 am on 27 June 2007

Tonga's Minister of Finance says he intends to meet a deficit of almost 5 million U.S. dollars in the current 2006-07 Budget by pressuring businesses to pay up tax arrears.

Siosiua 'Utoikamanu says with the end of the financial year on June 30, the budget deficit was due to two major events that took place in 2006.

More than 150 businesses suffered damages during the November riots in Nukualofa last year which cost the government millions to clean up, and custom duties suffered losses as a result.

The funeral of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV also cost the government half a million US dollars.

The Matangi Tonga news website reports the government's projected budget for 2007-08 is $152 million paaga or almost 75 million US dollars.