16 Feb 2009

Tonga Government denies claims of extravagant salary increase for cabinet members

8:16 pm on 16 February 2009

Tonga's Finance Minister has denied that government ministers have approved themselves new pay increases out of line with increases recently applied to civil servants' salaries.

This follows criticism from Tonga's Public Service Association that cabinet members have been singled out for special treatment by granting themselves extravagant pay rises of up to 160 percent.

However Finance Minister Afu'alo Matoto says it is not an increase but rather part of a new salary structure for cabinet members who are no longer considered civil servants.

Mr Matoto says the new arrangement sees the two salaries ministers have been earning - a parliamentary and a Cabinet salary - as well as daily allowances - merging into one salary which does not constitute a salary increase.

"Unfortunately, this was interpreted by some people to be increase on the office salary, not the amalgamation of the three different components of remuneration."

Afu'alo Matoto