MEDIA RELEASE (26 February 2015)
The Hon Prime Minister, Samuela Akilisi Pohiva, recieved the Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team to Tonga, Mr Ojima and his colleagues on a meeting at his office in Nuku’alofa on Monday 23 February.
Hon Pohiva warmly welcomed the IMF team for their first Article IV mission to Tonga, and under his new government. The team had been in Tonga for more than a week or so, and that Hon Pohiva was hopeful as to what the team learnt and found so far gave them better ideas about the status of Tonga’s economy.
Hon Pohiva stressed the fact that there is a positive note on Tonga’s economy at this point in time, where it is forecasted to prolong in that direction for quite sometimes.
Whilst the good news has been due basically to the rebuilding of Ha’apai residences from Cyclone Ian, together with some improvements from other sectors, the Hon Prime Minister reiterated that there would be a challenge against the forecasted status of the economy in the near future.
As such, Hon Pohiva stated that he was certain the team mission was not only timely to put in place appropriate policies for addressing the likely incoming challenges against Tonga‟s economy, but also timely on his new government first budget preparation.
Illustrating to the team one clear example of his concerns over Tonga’s economy, the Hon Prime Minister asserted that a huge liquidity in the banking sector suggested that the economy is in a “wait and see situation”. This may imply that the the banking system are more cautious with their lending facilities at the same time the private sector does not have much appetite to access to liquidity for lack of confidence in the market and high interest rate. The Hon Prime Minister was then “begging” the IMF advice so as to look for appropriate solutions to combat the issues.
Hon Pohiva commended all the supports provided by the IMF on financial and technical matters of concerns to the Government of Tonga and its people. He stated that it is evident the world is facing some economic challenges, but emphasized that his new government is committed to build the country’s economic resilient in order to avoid further economic implications from any global downturns.
He concluded with the mission of his new government of which he stated “I strongly believe that good governance is the key to development, which includes prudent and sound budgeting and fiscal management. This will be the basement of our developmental policy in the next years to come”.