A one-day Budget Briefing Mission for Members of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga Office was held today thanks to the kind support of the New Zealand and Australia government through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The Committee Secretariat presented to the MPs an easy-to-digest information about the national budget to strengthen Members of Parliament’s scrutiny of the 2024/25 Budget.

The Legislators were briefed on four sections of the Estimates including the Budget at a Glance, where it clearly stated that Government targets a balanced budget in 2024/25 and 2025/26 and a surplus budget in 2026/27 of about $7.3 million.

The budget for 2024/25 was guided by the theme “Building the foundations for sector-driven economic growth and sustainability.” It focuses on enhancing growth and development for the benefit of the entire population of Tonga. It prioritises Government’s greatest asset: “THE PEOPLE OF TONGA.”

The total budget for 2024/25 is $899.2 million of which 50.3 percent (or $452.3 million) is recurrent and 49.7 percent (or $446.9 million) development.

Of the total budget, 74.0 percent or $664.2 million is the appropriated cash, and 26.1 percent (or $235.0 million) is in-kind. Most expenditure is on operation (including capital expenses, most revenue is from taxes, followed by overseas donor funding in cash).

The Floating Budget Mission has been running for seven consecutive years, providing analysis of the 2024/2025 Budget as they prepare for the budget discussion next Thursday, June 6.

Members of Parliament were also presented with Tablets from UNDP to assist with the budget. All the documentations required for the budget including the budget statement, the budget estimates and the budget analysis have been loaded to the Tablets for ease of reference.

The presentation of the 271 paged Floating Budget Analysis Mission Document involves looking at the Budget at a Glance, 27 Ministries Budget Briefing and Thematic briefings.

The National Planning Division of the Ministry of Finance at the Prime Minister’s Office also did a presentation for the MPs and a presentation provided for them on the Public Finance Management.

MPs were also briefed on the synergies benefitting the communities a presentation from the Local Government and Community Development Division which was an Opportunities to coordinate between constituency funds and central government policies and mechanisms. It looks at the aligning of shared goals between constituency and government projects.

Also, on today’s program the MPs were also briefed on e-Parliament (Microsoft 365 SharePoint).

The High Commissioners of New Zealand and Australia were present at the MPs Budget Briefing Mission at the Parliament’s Chamber today.

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