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Samiu Vaipulu questions Government’s ability to create more jobs from tax revenue profits

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 31/01/2017

Although government is collecting extra revenue with millions of pa’anga, from the imposition of high tax rates, this has affected the less fortunate in the country. This has also caused hikes in prices of goods and services which in turn has a snow balling effect on the economy impacting mainly the less fortunate.

The People’s representative of Vava’u 15 to Parliament, Samiu Vaipulu raised the issue in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

He challenged government whether it has provided more jobs for the people in order for them to pay for the enforced taxes.

The Government has collected allot of tax in which many unemployed and less fortunate people bears the brunt. Does the Government looks for more markets for fishermen from Ha’apai to sell their products to, so they can cope with the tax payments required of them

This came after the Minister of Revenue, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau reported in Parliament that his Ministry has exceeded their revenue collection target last year with TOP$14,000,000.

Our target was TOP$162,000,00, but we’ve collected more than a TOP$170,000,00. In 2013 – 2014, the Ministry’s target was TOP$126,600,000 but they collected TOP$134,500,000 ,with a surplus of TOP$74000000. In 2014 – 2015, our target was TOP$136,900000, but we collected TOP$156,300,000, a surplus of TOP$19000000. “

The Minister then said, they’re not the only Ministry collecting tax, other Ministries also collect tax which is also includes in this surplus.

Another issue raised was   some uses of the surplus money to pay for unpaid tax, as in the case of patients admitted to the hospital and remain there for a long period.  The surplus from the Revenue department helps pay for those bad and unpaid debts.

Parliament’s discussion continued to other issues which included the allocation of TOP$500,000 for road maintenance.

Meanwhile Lord Nuku, The Noble’s Representative of ‘Eua to Parliament questioned the purposes of these surplus money and tax collection.

He queried whether the surplus is utilized by the government ministries or they are used for other purposes such as maintenance of roads and other government operations.

In response the Minister of Finance says the Government’s spending per month is estimated at TOP$17,000,000.

He continued saying these surplus money are used as reserve – due to the uncertainty of the economy’s status in order for Tonga and for the Government to have money reserved for emergencies and urgent needs.

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