Nuku'alofa, Tonga. The European Union has approved the disbursement of EUR 2.15 million (approx. 5.8 million pa'anga) to the Tongan Government to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.
This assistance entails the final payment of the European Union-Tonga energy sector budget support program, which promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency, and a contribution to the response to the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Cyclone (TC) Harold.
This financial support will provide additional fiscal space to the Government of Tonga to pursue its national COVID-19 and TC Harold’s response and recovery plans and to further enhance the energy sector.
COVID-19 containment measures have affected Tonga’s growth prospects, have a severe socio-economic impact and put significant pressure on public finances. TC Harold caused widespread damage to coastal areas and communities.
Meanwhile, Tongan authorities have adopted a budget with a larger deficit to accommodate crisis- related spending, such as addressing imminent healthcare needs, protecting people in vulnerable situations and supporting the private sector.
H.E. Sujiro Seam, Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific and Ambassador designate to Tonga said the European Union is providing a significant package of support to Tonga not only to assist with the economic and social challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to promote an inclusive and sustainable green recovery.
“This direct injection of funds into the national budget is one more example of our commitment to support Tonga and its people. It keeps the promise to build back better after TC Harold and to keep the focus on the European Green Deal as the top priority for the European Union in the Pacific.”
Hon. Minister of Finance Hon Tevita Lavemaau said the Tongan Government was most grateful for the financial commitment from the European Union through the disbursement of EUR 2.15 million, that included assistance towards Tonga’s preparedness effort and response to the impacts of the COVID-19 and its recovery from TC Harold.
This final disbursement meant that the full amount of budget support foreseen under the 11th European Development Fund for Tonga had been granted in full.
He said the Tongan Government looked forward to the conclusion of the Post-Cotonou Agreement as continuation of their partnership with the European Union as a very important development partner for Tonga.
This final disbursement of the budget support program was possible after Tonga demonstrated further important progress in the implementation of the Tonga Energy Roadmap and pre-agreed actions related to public finance management.