Government has allocated TOP$10 million in its 2016/2017 Budget Estimates towards the construction of sports facilities in Tonga’s effort to host the Pacific Games 2019.
According to the Minister of Finance and National Planning Dr. ‘Aisake Eke the fund will help with the construction of a golf course.
Cabinet also confirmed Tonga will host the Pacific Games in 2019 despite the loggerheads with the Sports Organising Committee.
The Hon. Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva revealed this in Parliament during his budget statement last week.
He said Papua New Guinea government officials were here in Nuku’alofa recently and held talks with their counterparts in Nuku’alofa. Pohiva said Papua New Guinea is really committed to helping Tonga with construction of the much needed sports facilities.
“This is the second time they (PNG government officials) have come to Tonga at their own costs. PNG will take some Tongans to Port Moresby and train them on how to use high performance facilities. Their great contribution is their appreciation of Tonga’s missionary work in PNG in the past,” explained the PM.
On that light, Pohiva called on Parliament to support Government’s policy.
“Despite the differences between Government and the Officer in Charge of the Organising Committee we have noted the need to solve the matter so sports will go as scheduled,” said Hon Pohiva.
He also reassured Parliament the much needed construction of sport facilities will be ready for the 2019 games.
With no construction to date, Pohiva said China has also confirmed that despite concerns about the time needed for implementation of the project, the sports facilities will be completed as scheduled.
The major project involves further upgrading of Teufaiva Sports Stadium facilities so it could host international rugby games there. China has committed $33 million grant towards the construction of swimming pool and volleyball grounds among other facilities.
However, after talks with the Chinese Ambassador to Tonga, Hon. Pohiva said the most updated blueprint of the proposed project has so far exceeded Beijing’s grant. But China has pledged China’s commitment to implement the project so it could be ready for 2019.
Dr. Eke also acknowledged the financial contribution from the Chinese Government and Papua New Guinea towards the 2019 Games.