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Report on the foreign investment bill 2016 read in Parliament

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 25/02/2019

Report of the public consultation on the foreign investment bill 2019 held last Thursday at Parliament, was read at the Legislative Assembly this morning and followed by the summing up by the Minister of Labour, Hon Tu’i Uata.

It was evident from the report that the Ministry of Labour had held public consultations since 2014 but the history of the bill dates back to 2008 when concerns were raised about an Act to secure Tongan owned businesses and similar interests.

The report showed that the consultations came as far as 2016 when the Ministry prepared the bill to be submitted to cabinet for approval.

The Minister Hon.Tu’i Uata told the house the representative of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industries apologized for claiming there was no public consultation.

However, comments by the Tonga chamber of commerce and other businesses were also read in the house concerning the consultation process and how it could be improved.

The chamber has sought to sign a formal memorandum of understanding between the private/public dialogue with the Ministry of Labour to formalize regular consultation with government on pressing issues affecting businesses.

They believe an effective and regular process will go a long way in smoothing the key processes holding back the growth of business in Tonga.

They also suggested that consultation on business related legislation must be given sufficient time to consider and prepare written submission on pending legislation.

Moreover, consultations must be recent, such as consultation conducted in 2016 for legislation to be passed in 2019, may need to go through a fresh round of consultation the same year, as conditions and environment may have changed markedly.

© Radio and Television Tonga News