Minister claims sports brings more money to kingdom than agriculture and fisheries

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Tonga’s Minister for Sport Feʻao Vakatā said Tonga’s sport players overseas brought about TP$14 million into Tonga every year.

Hon. Vakatā said the money was more than what the government collected from sales of crops and seafood overseas.

He was responding to a call from Democratic Party MP Veivosa Taka for the government to cancel Tonga’s hosting of the 2019 South Pacific Games.

Hon. Taka said the money earmarked for the games should be spent on the needy.

The Minister said hosting the South Pacific Games would boost income from sport, which was already one of the kingdom’s most significant financial resources.

Until now fisheries and agriculture have been regarded as two of Tonga’s major sources of income.

Hon. Vakatā said Tonga had more than just one hundred of sports players overseas but they brought a great deal of money to the nation.

Critics have said the Games are too costly for Tonga and there have been protests against the government’s plans to raise money for the games in the new budget.

Plans include a TP$100 hike in the airport departure tax, which is expected to bring in TP$5 million  a year for the next five years leading up to the Games, after which it will be removed.

The hike provoked a stir on social media with many accusing the government of penalising Tongans living overseas by making them pay higher fees every time they travel to and from Tonga.

The government has justified the hike by saying Tonga had one of the lowest airport departure taxes in the South Pacific.

Critics

Last week Tonga’s former Finance Minister Lisiate ‘Akolo, met with Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva  and asked the government to withdraw its hosting of the South Pacific Games.

Hon. ‘Ākolo said the Games were very expensive for Tonga.

Tonga plans to spend about TP$138 million on building facilities and hosting the Pacific Games in four years’ time.

Hon. ‘Ākolo said the money should be given to education and health sectors as Tonga’s economic viability was weak.

Tonga’s share

Meanwhile, the government has confirmed that most of the money needed to fund the Games will come from overseas donors.

The former government when it bid to win hosting of the Games told SPG committee it would donate TP$70 million for the sport.

Taka asked how the country could afford to maintain the facilities after the Games.

The Minister of Finance said the facilities would be used to host the Games for 10 days, but after that they would become national facilities to cater for local players.

The main points

  • Tonga’s Minister for Sport Feʻao Vakatā said Tonga’s sport players overseas brought about TP$14 million into Tonga every year.
  • Vakatā said the money was more than the government collected from sales of crops and seafood overseas.
  • He was responding to a call from Democratic Party MP Veivosa Taka for the government to cancel Tonga’s hosting of the 2019 South Pacific Games.
  • Vakatā told Parliament the government had estimated that for every pa’anga it spent spend on the Games, it would collect TP15 in return.

For more information

South Pacific Games Port Moresby 2015

Tonga wins bid for 2019 Games  (ABC)

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  1. Taukaveʻi minisita lahi ange paʻanga ʻomai sipoti ki he puleʻanga he ngoue mo e toutai

    Na’e pehē ‘e he minisitā ki he sipoti Fe’ao Vakatā, ‘oku ‘omai ‘e he kau sipoti ‘i tu’apule’anga ha TP$14 miliona pe ofi ai ki Tonga ‘i he ta’u kotoa.

    Na’e pehē ‘e ‘Onapolo Vakatā ‘oku lahi ange pa’anga ia ko ia ‘i he pa’anga ‘oku tanaki mei hono fakatau atu ‘o e ngoue mo e me’a tahi.

    Ko ‘ene tali ‘eni ki ha pole mei´ he fakafofonga ‘o e Temokalati Veivosa Taka ki he pule’anga ke kaniseli hono talitali ko ia ‘e Tonga ‘a e fe’auhi sipoti ‘a e Saute Pasifiki ‘i he 2019.

    Na’e pehē ‘e ‘Onapolo Taka ‘oku totonu ke fakamole e pa’anga ia kuo tukupau ki he sipoti ko ‘eni ki ha fa’ahinga fiema’u vivili ange.

    Ka na’e tala ‘e he minisitāa´ ‘e langa’i ‘e he Sipoti Si’i ‘a e Saute Pasifiki ‘a e hū’anga pa’anga ko ia mei´ he sipoti, ‘a ia ‘oku lolotonga hoko ko e tafenga pa’anga pau ‘a e pule’anga.

    Na’e talu foki mei tuai ‘a e taku ‘o pehē ko e toutai mo e ngoue´ ‘a e ongo tefito ‘o e ma’u’anga pa’anga ‘a Tonga. Ka kuo pehē ‘e Vakatā ‘oku lauingeau ‘a e kau va’inga sipoti ‘i tu’apule’anga pea ‘oku nau ‘omai ha pa’anga lahi ‘aupito ki he pule’anga.

    Na’e tala ‘e he ngaahi fakafepaki´ ‘oku fu’u fakamole ‘a e sipoti ki Tonga pea kuo ‘i ai ‘a e ngaahi fakafepaki ki he palani ko ia ‘a e pule’anga ke fai ha feinga pa’anga ‘i he patiseti fo’ou ki he sipoti.

    ‘Oku kau he palani´ ‘a e fo’i hiki lahi ko ia ‘o $100 ‘a e tukuhau fefolau’aki ‘i mala’evakapuna ‘a ia ‘oku fai e ‘amanaki te ne ‘omai ha $5 miliona ‘i he ta’u ki he ta’u ‘e nima ke tau fononga atu ai ki he sipoti, hili pē ia pea ‘e to’o leva ia.

    Na’e langa’i ‘e he fo’i hiki māsila ko ‘eni ha felauaki ‘i he ngaahi mitia ‘o tukuaki’i ai ‘e he toko lahi ‘a e pule’nga ‘o pehē kuo´ ne tautea ‘a e kāinga Tonga ‘oku nau fe’felau’aki ‘i he taimi ki he taimi ki Tonga´ ke nau totongi ha totongi ‘oku fu’u lahi.

    Ka ne fakapapau’i mai ‘e he pule’anga ‘a e hiki ne fai ‘o pehē ko Tonga ‘a e taha ‘o e ma’olalo taha ‘o e Saute Pasifiki ‘i he tukuhau fefolau’aki.

    Ngaahi Fakaanga

    Na’e fakataha ‘a e Minisitā Pa’anga kimu’a Lisiate ‘Ākolo ‘i he uike kuo ‘osi mo e Palēmia ‘Akilisi Pōhiva ‘o ne kole ‘oku tonu ki he pule’anga ke holomui mei hono fakalele ‘o e Sipoti Si’i ‘a e Pasifiki. Na’e pehē ‘e ‘Ākolo ‘oku fu’u fakamole ‘a e sipoti ki Tonga.

    ‘Oku palani ‘a e pule’anga ke fakamole ‘a e $138 miliona ‘i he langa pea mo hono fakalele ‘o e Sipoti ‘i he vaa’i taimi ko e ta’u ‘e fā. Na’e pehē ‘e ‘Ākolo ‘oku tonu ke ‘ave pa’anga´ ki he ako mo e ngaahi sekitoa ki he mo’ui lelei he ko e tu’unga malu ‘o e ‘ekonōmika ‘a Tonga ‘oku fu’u vaivai ‘aupito.

    Ko e ‘inasi ‘o Tonga

    ‘I he taimi tatau, kuo fakapapau’i ‘e he pule’anga ko e konga lahi ‘o e pa’anga ‘oku fiema’u ke fakapa’anga ‘aki ‘a e Sipoti ‘e ha’u ia mei´ he ngaahi pa’anga tokoni mei tu’apule’anga.

    Ko e taimi na’e veipā ai ‘a e pule’anga motu’a ki hono ikuna ‘o hono fakalele ‘o e Sipoti, na’a´ ne fakahā ki he komiti SPG (South Pacific Games) te ne foaki ange ‘a e $70 miliona ki he Sipoti.

    Na’e ‘eke ai ‘e Taka pe ‘e anga fēfē ‘a hono tokanga’i ‘e he pule’anga ‘a e ngaahi naunau mo e langa ‘i he hili ange ‘a e Sipoti.

    Na’e tali ‘e he minisitā pa’anga ko e ngaahi langa´ ‘e ngāue’aki ‘e he sipoti ‘i he ‘aho ‘e 10, pea ko ‘ene ‘osi ko ia pea ‘e hoko leva ia ko e naunau ‘a e pule’anga ke ne feau ‘a e fiema’u ‘a e kau va’inga fakalotofonua.