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Special levy of TOP$11.50 imposed on domestic air fares ordered to be halted until legal advice is sought

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 27/06/2017

 

From Parliament………

 

Government has ordered the payment of TOP$11.50 tax on domestic air fares  to be halted until  legal advice is sought.

 

The Deputy Prime Minister – Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni told members of about government’s intervention after the issue of high airfares to the islands was raised in the house yesterday.

 

Hon. Sovaleni said legal advice is being sought from the Solicitor General.

 

In previous deliberations the Minister of Public Enterprises – Hon Poasi Tei said this tax was legalized in an act passed in 2008 to raise funds for the ongoing maintenance of airports.

 

Lord Tu’ilakepa however, raised concern over high airfares which is almost TOP$800 for a round trip from Tongatapu to Vava’u.

 

The Speaker of Parliament – Lord Tu’ivakano told the house it is vital that they confirm their figures and information before bringing them to the house.

 

During the Committee of the Whole House deliberations yesterday, the Chairman Veivosa Taka proposed members to vote on the resolution submitted to the house when the deliberation was still heated

 

This led to arguments between the Chairman – Veivosa Taka and Lord Nuku and ended with the chairman ordering Lord Nuku out of the House.

 

The Committee then reverted to Parliament and the Speaker Lord Tu’ivakano said, it’s very important for a speaker or chairman to remain impartial, unbiased and never to take sides.

 

© Radio and Television Tonga News