(L) Prime Minister Hon Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa (R) Minister of Finance, Revenue & Customs Hon Tevita Lavemaau

18 June 2020 The deficit budget of TOP$589,598,900 million pa’anga has finally approved today in parliament and became a law commence from the 1st July 2020 to the 30th June 2021.

The overall debates of the deficit budget 2020/21 in parliament from the last three weeks was hindered by the ‘Prime Minister Road Project’ and the readiness of Tonga to combat the pandemic ‘COVID-19.’

The first two weeks of the overall debates of the budget was mainly focussed on former and the latter issues mentioned above.

When it get to discuss the 25 votes of the Ministries and Public Enterprises, the Democrats MPs known as the PTOA MPs always dragged the debates to specifies figures in the votes that this government could use for the ‘PM Road Project.’

The Lord is my Refuge and Fortress (Ko Sihova hoku Talitau’anga)

These are the 25 votes for the deficit budget 2020/21: $589,598,900 million pa’anga

  1. The Palace Office vote $3,669,100 million ($4,736,900 m 2019/20)
  2. The Legislative Assembly vote $13,759,600 million ($11,829,000 m 2019/20)
  3. Office of the Auditor-General $2,141,400 million ($2,223,800 m 2019/20)
  4. Office of the Ombudsman $1,547,900 million ($1,628,600 m 2019/20)
  5. Ministry of Foreign Affairs $10,406,500 million ($11,020,000 m 2019/20)
  6. His Majesty’s Armed Forces $22,828,800 million ($27,380,100 m 2019/20)
  7. Prime Minister’s Office $4,476,000 million ($3,969,700 m 2019/20)
  8. Ministry of Finance $166,324,500 million ($123,846,800 m 2019/20)
  9. Ministry of Revenues & Customs $10,047,600 million ($10,673,800 m 2019/20)
  10. Ministry of Public Enterprises $1,471,200 million ($15,509,700 m 2019/20)
  11. Ministry of Trade & ED $7,002,300 million ($8,449,800 m 2019/20)
  12. Ministry of Justice & Prison $13,667,400 million ($12,929,900 m 2019/20)
  13. Attorney General’s Office $3,379,100 million ($3,627,200 m 2019/20)
  14. Ministry of Police & Fire Services $15,274,600 million ($16,684,200 m 2019/20)
  15. Ministry of Health $70,646,200 million ($57,871,800 m 2019/20)
  16. Ministry of Education& Training $73,311,100 million ($69,885,900 m 2019/20)
  17. Ministry of Internal Affairs $15,861,700 million ($27,497,300 m 2019/20)
  18. Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) $13,442,900 million ($15,224,600 m 2019/20)
  19. Ministry of Infrastructure $44,245,700 million ($51,873,700 m 2019/20)
  20. Ministry of Lands (MLNR) $12,621,700 million ($13,329,500 m 2019/20)
  21. Public Service Commission $2,358,900 million ($2,524,500 m 2019/20)
  22. Statistics Department $4,400,200 million ($3,418,500 m 2019/20)
  23. MEIDECC $114,517,300 million ($150,516,200 m 2019/20)
  24. Ministry of Fisheries $9,802,300 million ($8,068,200 m 2019/20)
  25. Ministry of Tourism $9,222,300 million ($9,266,100 m 2019/20)

Total Deficit Budget 2020/21 $589,598,900 million pa’anga ($599,272,600 m 2019/20)

The Lord is my Refuge and Fortress (Ko Sihova hoku Talitau’anga)

The funding sources for the deficit budget 2020/21

  1. Government of Tonga fund – Cash $341,577,800 million
  2. Confirm Budget Support – Cash $38,469,600 million
  3. Overseas Donor Funding – Inkind $123,777,900 million
  4. Overseas Donor Funding – Cash $85,773,600 million

At last, the leadership of the Prime Minister Hon Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa was admirable, and his Cabinet Ministers had done an impressive job in parliament from introducing their Ministries’ votes to debates and enlightening the budget.

The Minister of Finance Hon Tevita Lavemaau should be acknowledged of his main performance at parliament not only his Ministries’ votes but the overall budget debates and particularly the enlightened. Hon Lavemaau experienced in the Finance Ministry and in parliament debates was magnificent.

The overall work and debates of the Democrats MPs should be questioned as most of their debates was outside the budget. For instance, most of the PTOA MPs were debated on the problems of their constituencies and questioned the annual reports of the Ministers which is outside the budget’s scope.

The three high rank generals of the PTOA, namely Semisi Sika, Mateni Tapueluelu and Siaosi Pohiva, tried to find different excuses not to vote on the budget and the rest of the PTOA MPs supported the budget.

In my view, the caused of disorganized in PTOA’s MPs during the budget’s debates was either by the lack of trust in the leadership of the core team or the inexperienced of the MPs in parliamentary work and particularly the debate on the budget.

©VPON Media 2020