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MP criticises governments proposed tax on local tobacco

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 19/06/2019

People’s representative of Vava’u 15 to parliament believes – there are other initiative for government to earn money to cater for the nation’s needs – and not imposing tax on the public – such as the government’s move now – to tax the local tobacco known as Tapaka Tonga.

Samiu Vaipulu was replying to the Prime Minister’s concern raised in parliament on Monday – where he said, that there’s about 6million pa’anga loss – an impact from the decrease in the amount of tobacco importing from overseas. The PM questioned how and where they are going to collect this amount from.

Vaipulu said, it is easy, the government just has to cut down spending money on unnecessary stuff such as travelling and buying vehicles.

Minister of Trade and Economic Development – Tu’i Uata thought otherwise and said, the previous government were the once that travelled overseas most of the times just like the vehicle issue.

While Uata was elaborating on the issue – People representative of Tongatapu 3 to Parliament – Siaosi Sovaleni asked Uata about the latest on his vehicle that got into an accident – but Sovaleni was told by the Chairman of the Whole House committee to sit down.

However Vaipulu continued and said, the government’s moving to impose tax on the Tapaka Tonga ” for health reason”, yet he knows that the price of eggs from overseas has increased by 15 percent – at the same time the price of the local eggs is expensive.

Mateni said, they haven’t impose tax on Tapaka Tonga ” yet ” but members of the house should take into consideration – that the government receive about 53 million pa’anga worth of needs from the locals – unbudgeted – therefore they have to impose these tax – just to be fair.

Vaipulu was not satisfied and said, if the government’s needs is too high – they should bring it down to the amount of money it has.

The house’s deliberations continued this morning.

© Radio and Television Tonga New