Tonga Government

Tonga Govt to implement new income tax rates

The rates are being introduced to support people during the current economic situation due to prolonged Covid-19 and its negative impact on the economy.

There will be no income tax rate charged for individuals earning $12,000 and less.

An income tax rate of 10% will be charged to people who are earning in the range of $12,001 to $30,000.

Individuals who are earning from $50,001 to $70000 will be charged with a 20% income tax rate.

A new tax rate of 25% will be implemented for people earning $70001 and more.

     

27 people in Tonga breached home quarantine rules

The government has extended the managed quarantine period from 14 days and seven days home isolation to 21 days with no home isolation.

Previously the third week of mandatory quarantine had been isolation at home

However local media reports that a total of 27 people breached home quarantine rules.

Minister for Health Dr 'Amelia Tu'ipulotu said a quarantine report on passengers found that during the seven days of home quarantine, 16 people left their homes.

Furthermore, seven people received visitors, and four people held gatherings.

Tongan students encouraged to apply for 2021 Government scholarships

The scholarships are offered to individuals to undertake tertiary studies locally at the University of the South Pacific-Tonga Campus.

A government release said the National Scholarship Committee has allocated funds to support privately-funded students who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Tonga Government completes construction of 27 houses since TC Harold

Prime Minister, Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa said when the government came into office in October last year, not one house was rebuilt after Cyclone Gita which hit the country in 2018.

“Twenty-seven houses have been built. We are also planning for another 100 houses to be built in December 2020,” he said in Parliament on Monday.

He added the construction was faster because they had brought in new contractors, because in the past there were only six companies, building the houses, school buildings, and wharfs.

Six families receive homes built under Tonga Government’s Cyclone Gita Recovery Project

The houses were constructed under the Government’s Cyclone Gita Recovery Project.

Cyclone Gita caused widespread damage and loss to homes throughout Tongatapu and ‘Eua, in February 2018.

The six families are Tevita Moala of Tatakamotonga, Sione Keti of Lavengatonga, ‘Akimoana Kaufana of Ngele’ia, Sione Fine of ‘Anana, Siaosi ‘Amanoni of Ngele’ia, and ‘Isileli Vaea of ‘Eua.

Five of the new houses are located in Tongatapu, and one in ‘Eua.

Tonga holds public consultations on proposed new traffic legislation

The legislation would make wearing seat belts, in the front seats, compulsory and outlaw the use of phones while driving.

Kaniva Tonga reports that heavily tinted front windows in vehicles would also be banned.

If passed the new legislation would also allow visitors who hold either a New Zealand, Australian or United States driver's licence to drive in the kingdom.

It also points to plans for Tonga's first set of traffic lights and the likelihood of heavy traffic being banned from some streets in central Nuku'alofa.

     

Tongan govt sacks Shared Communication Boards chair

The decision to sack Piveni Piukala was made by Cabinet last Friday, reports Kaniva Tonga News.

A government statement said the grounds for termination included incompetence, acting in bad faith, and failure to follow due process in appointing the chief executive of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, or TBC.

On Wednesday, the TBC reported the termination followed Mr Piukala's decision to decline a request from the prime minister to suspend three TBC staff members and to investigate them for alleged misconduct.

High Court rules NZ appropriate forum to hear Tongan government dispute with cable company

The ruling was made as part of a legal dispute between the three parties over a debt of US$1.4 million which Hawaiki Cable says it is owed.

According to Kaniva News, the Cable company had wanted the case heard in New Zealand, but the Tongan defendants said Hawaiki Cable required leave to serve proceedings on it in Tonga and argued that New Zealand was not a legally convenient location.

However, both sides chose to approach the case using New Zealand law.

Pacific Games Council hoping for amicable conclusion to dispute with Tongan Government

Tonga were named as hosts in 2012 but the Government pulled out in 2017, citing financial concerns.

A reopened bid process ultimately led to Samoa being selected as hosts, with the Games currently ongoing here.

The PGC and Tonga Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) also launched a civil suit against the Government.

Both have been seeking millions of dollars worth of damages over breach of contract.

Planned changes more democratic - Tonga Govt

The government has been pushing for legislative change that includes a separate agency to appoint judges, the police commissioner and attorney general.

Public consultations show strong support for the status quo, but government spokesperson Lopeti Senituli said the reforms were not about reducing the authority of King Tupou VI.

They are about creating a more democratic agency to make appointments to key posts, he said.

Establishing an independent Judicial Appointments Commission, would replace the current panel made up entirely of members of the Privy Council.