THE soft opening ceremony of the Legislative Assembly this morning took place despite the heavy rain.
Three nobles His Serene Highnesses Prince Tu’ipelehake, Prince Tungi and Lord Luani officially opened today’s program.
His Serene Highness Prince Tu’ipelehake read the Speech from the Throne which called on parliamentarians to work together for the benefit of the people.
“Parliament is a single House and despite your differences members should work and collaborate for the best interest of the people.
There’s hope for more partnership between the Parliament and Cabinet to ensure viable financial institutions that will benefit the public,” said His Serene Highness.
Economically, Tonga is vulnerable to the impacts of the global financial crisis therefore Cabinet and Government need to work in improving our economic and social sectors.
He says the political reform program that Tonga undertook in 2010 was not an easy road to take especially in the midst of the global economic crisis.
“The global financial crisis left many people worldwide without jobs including Tongans living abroad. This prompted a major drop in levels of remittances from Tongans overseas that also affected some of development projects as well as efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The House was also informed that despite so many challenges ahead there is evident that Government is implementing projects to develop our economy. That includes improving policies to well manage public funds, improve bank policy to allow easier public access to personal loans, improve government policy to improve private sectors viability.
Among other polices that government is now addressing includes in country training of local people for job opportunities here in Tonga and abroad.
Government also works to reduce Tonga’s vulnerability to rising fuel cost by introducing more renewable energy.
On Communication, His Serene Highness says Government is also undertaking a fiber optic cable project for internet faster connection with the rest of the world via Tonga Cable.
Prince Tu’ipelehake also notes the importance of the agricultural sector as backbone to our economy. Therefore he calls on Parliament to recognize the need to encourage organic farming for it is user friendly to our environment and for food security purposes.
His Serene Highness also acknowledged the continuous support for rebuilding effort from donor countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, People’s Republic of China, United Nation, European Union as well as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
He ended by wishing members of the House a fruitful discussion for the betterment of Tonga.