Tonga welcomes ADB assistance for COVID-19 response

The Tongan Government has welcomed the quick response by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support actions to protect the health of the Kingdom and manage the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tonga’s Minister for Finance, Tevita Lavemaau, said, “the prompt response by ADB is indeed timely as government had in place a small contingency provision for un-anticipated events but neither planned nor included in the budget resources to combat the scale of the negative impacts by COVID-19 on our small and vulnerable economy. The Ministry of Finance projected the negative impacts on the economy up to 7 percent in 2020 and higher in the financial year 2021. ”

Minister Lavemaau added that”Government wishes to acknowledge the timeliness of the ADB COVID-19 response through two separate grants:-

  1. USD470,000 (TOP$1.08 million) from the ADB Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Fund (APDRF), to strengthen the Ministry of Health healthcare equipment, to contain and control the virus.
  2. USD6 Million (TOP$ 13.8 million) grant from its contingent disaster financing (CDF) to supplement the Government budget to help finance its assistance program to affected businesses by the pandemic and those vulnerable in the communities.”

Until a vaccine is available, the Government is further challenged to manage and mitigate further damage to the economy and the health of Tongans here and abroad, and will consider all options in the new budget for FY2021 to be tabled at the Parliament in June 2020.


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