2 Jun 2008

Tonga MP dismisses Government predictions of strong economic growth

7:40 pm on 2 June 2008

Tonga's leading pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, dismisses government predictions the economy will grow by three percent this financial year.

The government made this assessment based on the impact of the reconstruction of the business district in Nuku'alofa, tourism growth, major investments and the August coronation of King George Tupou 5th.

The Government expects the coronation alone will generate about 5.4 million US dollars revenue from 4,000 to 5,000 visitors.

But Mr Pohiva says there's no economic growth in sight.

"As far as Tonga's economic development is concerned, everything has gone down the drain. Our export has gone down the drain, tourism is not good, and remittances from overseas have gone down again. Apart from the government wacking on the number of tourists expected during the coronation ceremony."

Akilisi Pohiva says there is a need for a proper financial assessment of how much revenue the coronation will create.