16 Oct 2008

Nukualofa rebuilding to offer work for Tongans

3:18 pm on 16 October 2008

The Tongan government says the rebuilding of Nuku'alofa will provide significant work opportunities for Tongans.

Some private construction is already underway but three years of planned public development is due to begin late next month.

While New Zealand and Australia had earlier donated funding for the reconstruction following riots two years ago, much of the public work will be facilitated through a nearly 60-million US dollar loan from China.

The Transport Minister, Paul Karalus, who chairs the monitoring team, was in China last week, where the plans for the civil works were finalised.

He says the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company will head the building process but with significant local involvement.

"They will also be engaging subcontractors here who are local or nearby so it could include people from New Zealand, Australia and so on. That process is about to begin too. One of the things we raised with them in China was for them to actually detail the level of expertise they intend to bring in and the level of expertise and numbers we would need to supply."

Paul Karalus