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Games financed by high taxation of ordinary folks

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Editor,

Your “bull’s eye” report on foreign currency levy (Bank restricts foreign currency…over new Tongan levy Oct 28, 2015) by government, reveals a direct robbery from people’s only non-taxable source of income. These funds sent from their families living and working overseas (remittances) are Tonga’s leading source of income without Government spending a penny to earn it.

Now that Government has found a way to levy a 1% taxation on these remittances - presumably to finance the 2019 South Pacific Games - is another highway robbery con-job upon the simple folks of Tonga. This taxation levy adds to the high currency transaction fees that the banks and fund transfer operators are already charging ordinary folks.

Instead of finding ways to improve the economy of the country, Government (Executive and Legislative) is once again robbing people of the only source of income from the hard labor of their loved ones living and working overseas.

Now that Government officials have fled the country upon the enforcement of this taxation law, it seems to me they are timing their travels and vacations coincidentally with these controversial fiats. 

Immoral Taxation

How convenient? How about cutting Government travel expenses 1% to finance the South Pacific Games in 2019? Hidden travel benefits such as the Prime Minister’s nepotism personal assistant’s expenses can be a start. 

This immoral law (1% levy) takes from ordinary folk’s funds (remittances) received from their families living and working overseas. Remittances are Tonga’s Number One source of income received indiscriminately by ordinary people without Government help.

Despite Government's claim Remittances income superseding agriculture, fishery, and tourism, remittances are Tonga's number one revenue source. And Government spends zero dollar ($0) in its annual budget on remittances.

Now Government finds a way to rob people of their only source of income to finance a big fun celebration called the South Pacific Games. Are we reliving the Roman Empire’s 100-day Games of Ancient Rome financed by high taxation on the populace?

Sione A. Mokofisi
Moana University