Tonga's Budget finally passed

Tongan's $US293m budget for the 2018-19 Financial Year has finally been passed by Parliament.

The Minister of Finance tabled the Budget on May 31 but debate got off a sluggish start, not only because the Budget was incomplete when it was tabled, but there was also a petition for the House to defer its debate, while seven Cabinet Ministers and the accounts of their ministries were audited.

Matangi Tonga reported Pohiva Tu'ionetoa introduced his budget under the theme, "Rehabilitating to a more secure situation".

It is financed from various sources, including a $US131m Government Fund, $US81m in donations and $US19.3m in budget support from aid donors.

The government's major expenditure is the salaries of Civil servants, at nearly 54 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

There is also a government assistance to non-government schools of $US3.1m.

The government total loans as of June 2018 is $US207m; $US181.75m of which consists of overseas loans.

Mr Tu'ionetoa said a focus of the budget would be on recovering from the devastation inflicted by February's Cyclone Gita which was damaged estimated exceed $US145m.

He said $US47.5m from the budget had been specifically earmarked for cyclone recovery over the next four years.