Hon Minister of Finance Tevita Lavemaau

Minister of Finance Hon Tevita Lavemaau told parliament that the aim of the Public Procurement (Amendment) Regulations 2019 was to empower the Ministry’s leader or CEO by increasing the threshold from $7,500 and $10,000 to $20,000.

The regulations 8, 9, 10, 34, 35, and 62 of the $7,500 threshold are replaced with a $20,000 threshold. The regulations 11 – 19 and 66 of the $10,000 threshold are replaced with a $20,000 threshold.

The main amendment of the regulation 29(1) of the Principal Regulations by deleting the amount of $1,000,000 and replacing it with the number of $5,000,000 threshold was the issue of the debate from the Democrat’s (PTOA) MPs.

Hon Lavemaau stated that the aim of this amendment from $1 million to $5 million thresholds is to empower the local construction companies that operated by our Tongan people.

The Prime Minister and the government believed that our local construction workers are having the skills and experiences to do our construction and development works up to $5 million thresholds before the government advertises and tenders all the works that above the $5 million thresholds to big overseas companies, said Hon Lavemaau.

The Finance Minister emphasized the importance of empowering our Tongan people in the construction industries who had all the necessities, experience, and skill-sets to do the work. Not only that but Hon Lavemaau stated that this amendment is specific to the construction industry.

The PTOA MPs were concerned about this amendment regulation particularly the huge increased from $1 million to $5 million thresholds that seem to avoid the Public Procurement process under the Public Finance Management Act 2016.

MP Mateni Tapueluelu claimed that this increased of threshold to $5 million is too much and it could allow the government to exercise nepotism and favouritism of hand-pick companies whom they favoured rather than give the opportunities to all construction companies to bid for the job.

Hon Lavemaau clarified that the process of bidding and advertising of the work is still continuing on but the aim of the amendment was to avoid the advertising of the work to overseas companies until it exceeded the $5 million thresholds.

The construction work will continue on advertising locally as the government realised that most of our local construction companies have the capacity to do the work up to $5 million thresholds.

MP Semisi Sika supported the amendment regulation but concerns about any disadvantage for the local companies as most of the local companies are currently competing on $1 million plus construction work here in Tonga.

Hon Lavemaau replied that the time and the cost are so significant in this amendment. To advertise every job that exceeds the $1 million thresholds is costly and very time consuming but most of the overseas companies are not interested in $1 million work as it will cost them more to operate here in Tonga.

The overseas contractors are interested in works that exceeded the $5 million thresholds and that is why this government needs to amend this regulation and empower our local construction companies instead.

Even though the debating of this amendment regulation 8/2020 was the major issue in parliament as the PTOA MPs asked to put this amendment to the Treasury Committee but the government outvoted them.

The overall votes for this amendment regulation in parliament was approved by 23 Members of Parliament and no one voted against this amendment to increase the threshold from $1 million to $5 million.

TALI ‘EHE FALEALEA NGAAHI TU’UTU’UNI (FAKATONUTONU) KI HE FAKATAU FAKAPULE’ANGA ‘O KAU AI E FAKATONUTONU 8/2020 KE HIKI E MAHU’INGA HE TU’UTU’UNI 34 MEI HE $1 MILIONA KI HE $5 MILIONA KE FAKAFAINGAMALIE’I NGAAHI KAUTAHA LANGA FAKALOTOFONUA.

‘Eiki Minisita Pa’anga Hon Tevita Lavemaau:

Ko e me’a ‘e taha ‘Eiki Sea ko hono hiki hake ‘a e threshold ko ē ki he ngaahi ngāue langá. Fakatokanga’i heni ki he construction pē eni ia Sea. Ko e ngata’anga ko ē ‘i ai, ka ai ha langa ‘oku ‘ova he 1 miliona, pau leva ke tu’uaki ia ‘o a’u ki muli ‘Eiki Sea. Fiema’u ia he regulation ko eni kuo pau ke a’u ia ki muli. Na’e fai e vakai ko eni ‘Eiki Sea, ko e industry ko eni pē ko e sekitoa ko eni ‘i Tonga ni. Kau eni he sekitoa mā’olunga taha ‘i he langa faka-‘ekonōmika ko ē ‘a e fonua. ‘A ia ‘oku nau ma’u e taukei pea mo e ngaahi fakamo’oni faka-ako, faka-‘enisinia, faka-langa ke fakahoko e ngaahi langa ko eni. Pea ‘oku lava pē ‘a e ngaahi ngāue langa lalahi ia ko eni ‘o fakahoko ‘i Tonga ni ‘e he kau langa ko ē fakalotofonua. ‘A ia, na’e hiki leva ‘a e fakangatangata ko eni mei he 1 miliona ki he 5 miliona ‘Eiki Sea. Ka toki ‘ova e langa ‘i he 5 miliona pea ‘e toki tu’uaki atu leva ke kau mai mo tu’apule’anga. ‘A ia, ko hono fakalea mahino pē ia, ko e ‘oange e faingamālie ia ma’a e kau langa ko eni fakalotofonua ka ‘oku ‘uhinga pē eni ia ki he langa. Ka ko ha to e fa’ahinga me’a kehe ia ‘Eiki Sea, ‘oku ‘ikai ke malava ‘o ma’u e taukei ko ia ‘i Tonga ni, ‘e kei tu’uaki pē ia ‘o kau ai mo tu’apule’anga. Fokotu’u atu ‘Eiki Sea.

MP Mateni Tapueluelu:

Tapu pea mo e Feitu’u na ‘Eiki Sea pea pehē ki he Hou’eiki Mēmipa. Sea, ko e taha eni e tu’utu’uni ‘oku mau fu’u tokanga lahi ki ai. Ko hono ‘uhinga ko e ngaahi liliu ‘oku lahi. ‘A ia ko hono huitu’a Sea, ko e hiki ‘a e threshold ki ‘olunga, ‘a ia ‘oku ‘uhinga ia ‘e ‘i ai e ngaahi ngāue ‘e lava ‘o tukuange ‘o ‘ikai ke fou ‘i he ngaahi founga angamaheni ko ē ‘a ē ‘e ‘i ai e ngaahi bid ‘e to e mā’olunga hake ai. Pea ‘oku mau tokanga ki heni Sea, he ‘oku mau lau ‘a e sino ngāue ko eni ko e procurement pē ko e fakatau faka-pule’anga ko e taha ia ‘o e sino ngāue ‘oku ne sivisivi ‘a e me’a ko ē, ko e ngāue lelei pē ko e pule lelei Sea. Pea ko hono hiki ko eni ‘oku tokanga ki ai, kau ai ‘a e Kupu 11; Item 11; ko e fakatonutonu ‘a e Tu’utu’uni 29. ‘A ia ‘oku fakatonutonu ‘a e Tu’utu’uni 29; kupu-si’i (i) ‘o e tefito’i Tu’utu’uni, ‘aki hono tamate’i ‘o e mahu’inga ko e 1 miliona pea fetongi ‘aki ia ‘a e mahu’inga ko e 5 miliona. ‘A ia, ko ‘ene fu’u hiki lahi pehē Sea ‘oku mau tokanga, ‘e ‘i ai leva ‘a e ngaahi ngāue ‘e a’u pē ia ‘o tukuange pehē’i kapau ‘oku 5 miliona ki lalo.

Minisita Pa’anga: Hon Tevita Lavemaau

Sea, ka u ki’i fakatonutonu, hangē pē ko ‘eku fakamatala ko ē ‘anenai, ‘a e hiki ko eni mei he 1 ki he 5, ko e ‘uhinga pē ia ki he ‘ū project langa, langa fale, ngaahi langa lalahi. Ka ‘oku ‘ikai ke ‘uhinga ‘ene hiki ‘ana ko ia, ko ‘ene hiki ‘ana ko eni Sea, he koe’uhinga ko e threshold ko ē ki ai, ko ‘ene ‘ova ai, kuo pau ke tu’utaki ia faka-tu’apule’anga, ke tu’uaki atu ki muli. Ka ‘oku kei fai pē hono tu’uaki ‘ona ia, ka ko e ‘uhinga ko ē na’e hiki ai mei he 1 ki he 5, ‘oku ongo’i ‘e he Kōmiti ia ‘Eiki Sea, ko e ngaahi langa lalahi ia ko ē ‘i Tonga ni, ‘oku lava pē ia ‘o fakahoko ‘e he ngaahi kautaha langa ko ē ‘i Tonga ni. Pea ‘oku lahi e ngaahi langa ia ‘oku lau miliona ‘oku fai pē ia he ngaahi kautaha Tonga ni pē ia. ‘A ia, ko hono ‘uhinga leva ia ‘Eiki Sea, ‘oku kei muimui pē ia ki he founga ko ē kuo pau ke kei tu’uaki ke nau bid he ‘ū me’a ko ia. Ko e fo’i me’a pē ia, ‘oku ‘ikai ke to e tu’uaki ia ki tu’apule’anga. ‘Oku tu’uaki fakalotofonua pē ia ki he ngaahi kautaha ko ia ‘i Tonga ni. Ka ‘oku ‘ikai ke ‘uhinga ia ‘oku ‘ikai ke muimui ai ki he founga ngāue. Ko e ‘uhinga pē ia ‘Eiki Sea. Mālō.

MP Misi Sika

Kuo u tu’u pē ke poupou ki he ‘Eiki Minisitā. Ko e fo’i laumālie ko ē ke fakaivia ‘etau kau, ‘etau kau private sector ko ē ‘i Tonga ni. ‘Oku ‘asi ‘aupito ia he fo’i fokotu’u ‘oku ‘omai ko eni ke ‘ange e faingamālie ki he kau pisinisi Tonga, pea ‘oku mahino ia. Ko ‘eku fehu’i pē ‘a‘aku Sea, koe ’uhiā ko e lolotonga ni ‘oku ‘i ai pē ngaahi ngāue ia ‘oku ‘osi ‘ova ‘i he 1 miliona ‘oku lolotonga ta’imālie pē ai ‘a e kau pisinisi local. ‘Oku ou tui ko hono tuku ko ē ke tu’uaki ki muli ‘e tokoni ia ki hono ki he fe’au’auhi ke to e lelei ange ‘a e fakahoko fatongia pea to e lelei ange mo e ‘oange ‘o e faingamālie ki he kau pisinisi local. ‘Oku ou manavasi’i pē au ia na’a faufau ke tau tu’utu’usi hifo pea ngaloku ai ‘a e fua fatongia ko ia ‘a e kau pisinisi local, he ko ena ‘oku mahino mai pē ‘oku ‘asi mai pē ia ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e ngaahi ngāue lahi ‘oku ‘ova ‘i he 1 miliona ‘oku ‘osi bid ki muli ‘oku kei ma’u pē ia ‘e he kau pisinisi local, ‘oku ‘ikai foki ke ‘uhinga ia ke pehē ia ke nau disadvantage pē ‘e faingata’a ki he kau pisinisi local ke ma’u ha’anau ngāue. Ko e tu’u’i he taimi ni ‘oku ma’u pe ‘enau ngaahi ngāue ‘i he vaha’a ‘o e 1 miliona mo e 5 miliona. ‘Oku ‘ikai ko e ‘uhinga ia Sea ke pehē ko ha’aku fakafepaki ‘oku ‘uhinga pē au ia ke to e ki’i fakamā’ala’ala mai angé ‘a e fu’u ‘uhinga ko ia ke ta’ofi hano tu’uaki ki muli’a e ngaahi ngāue ko ē ‘oku 5 miliona fai ki lalo, he ‘oku ou sio atu au ia ‘oku kei ma’u pē ngāue ia ‘a e kau pisinisi local tokoni hono tu’uaki ki muli ke hanga ‘e he ngaahi contractor ko ē mei muli fusi’i e ngāue ke to e lelei ange pea to e faka’ofo’ofa ange pea to e taau ange ‘a e ngaahi taumu’a ola ‘i he’ene tu’u ko ia. ‘Oku ou tui pē mahalo ‘oku mahino atu pe ‘ū concerns ia ko ē ki he fo’i lao ko eni. Mā

Hon Tevita Lavemaau:

Mālō Sea. Tapu pea mo e Sea, ko e ‘uluaki me’a lahi pē heni Sea ko e taimí pea mo e cost. Ko e tu’uaki ko ē ki muli pau ke kumi ia ha nusipepa ia ‘oku me’a mo e hā fua ‘a e ngaahi me’a ko ē ke tu’uaki ai, ‘oku ‘ikai ke tokanga mai ‘a e ngaahi sekitoa langá ia ‘Eiki Sea ki he fanga ki’i langa 1 miliona ko ē ‘i Tonga ni, pea ‘oku tātaaitaha ke ma’u mai ha tohi ia ki ai ‘Eiki Sea. Ko e taimi ko ē ‘oku fakahoko ai ha ngaahi ngāue ia ‘i Tonga ni ‘oku ‘ikai ke ma’u ‘a e taukei mo e me’a ‘i Tonga ni, neongo hono tu’uaki ko ē ‘i Tonga ni, kā kuo pau pē ke ‘omai ‘e he Potungāue ia ‘a ‘enau list ‘e nautolu ia ‘a e ‘ū contractor na’e ‘osi fai pē ‘a e fengāue’aki ia, ke fai ha fetu’utaki hangatonu ke ‘omai ha’anau piti (bid), fakatātā’aki eni Sea, taimi ko ē na’e fai ai ko ē ‘a e piti ko eni hono fakalelei’i ko ē ‘a Teufaiva mo e kātoa ko ē ‘o Teufaiva ‘ikai ke ‘i ai ha taha ia ‘i Tonga ni te ne ma’u ‘a e taukei ko ia ki hono fai ‘o e fo’i ngāue ko ia, na’e tu’uaki pē ia. Na’e pau leva ke fai ‘a e fetu’utaki ia ki he ngaahi kautaha na’a nau ‘osi fakahoko ‘e nautolu ‘a e ngāue tatau ‘i he ngaahi feitu’u kehe, Ha’amoa, Papua Niukini pea ko e kautaha tatau pē ia na’a tau kole ko ē ki ai ke nau piti (bid) mai ke nau ōmai ‘o fai ‘a e fo’i ngāue ko eni. ‘A ia ko e taimi ko ē ‘e ha’u ai ‘a e ‘ū ngāue ‘oku fakatekinikale ‘oku ‘ikai ke ma’u ‘a e capacity ‘i Tonga ni, kuo pau pē ke nau ‘omai ‘e nautolu ia ‘e he Potungāue ia ha fo’i toko 3 mei tu’apule’anga kuo pau ke fai ‘a e tohi ia ‘o kole kia kinautolu ke nau piti (bid) mai ki he ngāue, kā ko e me’a ko ē ki he langa ia ‘Eiki Sea ko e fakamā’opo’opo ko ē ‘a e Potungāue ia lava lelei pē ia ‘e he kau ngāue ‘i Tonga ni pea ‘oku ‘ikai ko ha Potungāue ‘ikai ko ha kautaha pē eni ia ‘e taha, ‘oku fe’au’auhi lelei ‘aupito pē ‘a e bid ia ki he ngāue langa, pea ‘oku lolotonga fakahoko pē ia ‘Eiki Sea. Mālō.

(Ref: Miniti 22 Fale Alea 22062020)