Government needs to find real solutions to Tonga’s economic problems

The Tongan government should find the real economic problems facing Tongans, the CEO of Revenue and Customs ‘Anisi Bloomfield said today.

Bloomfield said it was time to stop relying on solutions from economic textbooks.

As Kaniva News reported last month, the government announced that from now on budgets would be set according to a policy of aligning expenditure with GDP ratios.

“This problem has been raised from time to time and people are sick of it,” Bloomfield said.

He said economic policy was the cause of the civil servants’ strike in 2005.

Budget allocation should reflect activities and solution to stop these problems.

“It is about time for us to talk about the solutions to these problems,” Bloomfield said.

“If not, we cannot resolve our problem.”

He said Tonga faced high unemployment, but still imported foreign workers.

“The government still issues visas to taxi drivers and shop keepers and after staying in Tonga for five years these foreigners are allowed to apply for permanent residency,” Bloomfield said.

He said solutions needed to stop the government from having to absorb employees, including those who have just finished university.

“Is the policy for selecting our scholarship candidates still valid and should it still be based on government’s need or is it about time to include the views of the private sector?” the CEO asked.

“We should not only look at Government human resource development but also national human resource development so the private sector should absorb part of those human resources.

“I am afraid otherwise we will reach a stage where 80% of our budget goes to the salaries and wages and only 20% goes to service.

“If we do not do something about it now while the rate of unemployment is high our situation will be worse.”