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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Tonga's PM plans to cut Games planning costs

Tonga’s Prime Minister said his government would review existing regulations to make sure the majority of work for the 2019 Games relied on the government’s Facility Committee and not the Organising Committee led by Lord Sevele ‘O Vailahi.

‘Akilisi Pohiva said even though the Supreme Court has reinstated Lord Sevele as chair of the South Pacific Games Organising Committee his part in preparations for the Games would be minimal.

The Prime Minister told Kaniva News this was to reduce spending as much as possible so money could be spent on sport.

He said that in 2015 alone the government spent TP$1 million on the committee’s salaries and operational costs.

Mr Pohiva said foreign governments and donors sacrificed part of their people’s taxes so they could help fund Tonga’s preparation for the Games.

He said he wanted Tonga to repay that sacrifice by cutting costs and allowances wherever it could.

He said members of the Facility Committee were government officials and were paid their normal salaries.

Mr Pohiva said he was not paid for his work as chair of the Committee.

PNG Funding

Meanwhile, the delegation from Papua New Guinea will return to Tonga next month as part of the country’s promise to help the kingdom funding the sport.

PNG Sport Minister Justin Tkatchenko led a delegation to Tonga in June to see what areas his country could fund.

Hon. Pohiva said he met the PNG officials at the United Nations meeting in New York last month.

He said PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill assured Tonga his country would still assist the Games preparation.

They were waiting for their government’s budget to be passed by Parliament in November, Hon. Pohiva said.

Pacific Games supports Tonga

The President of the Pacific Games Council, Mr Vidhya Lakhan, said last week the Council would continue to support Tonga as the host nation of the 2019 Pacific Games.

“The Pacific Games Council has always taken a flexible and modest approach to the requirements of the sporting facilities to ensure the Games leave Tonga with an affordable legacy,” a statement from the council said.

The Council said it had never asked for the existing nine hole golf course be re-developed to an 18-hole facility.

The Council said that while Tonga’s budget was smaller than that of the previous two games, it was the same as Samoa’s budget when it successfully staged the Pacific Games in 2007.

“As far as the Pacific Games Council is concerned, the 2019 Pacific Games will continue to be hosted by Tonga,” Lakhan said.

“I urge the Government to fully get behind the Games and move forward with the exciting plans they have developed to build the facilities and deliver the Games in conjunction with the Tonga 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee.”

Kaniva News

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 12:36 PM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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