Government of Tonga's TOP$ 1 million grants for Tourism and Manufacturing businesses was launched in Neiafu, Vava'u at the Puataukanave International Hotel on Friday 20th September, 2013. The Minister for Commerce, Tourism and Labour Hon. Viliami Uasike Latu was joined by the Minister for Finance and National Planning, Hon. Lisiate Aloveita Akolo to launch the grant scheme with over 50 guests from local business operators, community groups and government representatives.

 

Hon. Latu said that “existing financial institutions in Tonga especially the commercial banks are of very little use to the thousands of local micro small businesses and income generating groups that need financial assistance but is not able to be supported by these banks.” Hon. Latu further stated that “those banks are not in businesses in Tonga to attend to the needs of our local businesses, youth groups, women groups, and communities as they cannot meet the collateral requirements of the banks.” The restricted access to finance had convinced Government to create the means to provide this grant assistance to those businesses most in need.

 

Under the grant assistance, TOP500,000 is allocated to the Tourism sector and TOP500,000 for the manufacturing sector, where TOP250,000 is for the handicraft industry. A grant leaflet, application form and contract are available both in Tongan and English language. To ensure sustainable provision of the grants, the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning will jointly manage and monitor the consistency of the grants.

 

The Hon. Dr. Latu, in his statement at the official launch also highlighted to the audience “the overriding objective of Government for this grant scheme is to be successful and sustainable with regards to the impact, outcome and calls for businesses and targeted recipients to be prepared and committed to work harder and comply with the specifications of the grant designed to manage the identified risks.” The Minister for Finance and National Planning Hon. Lisiate Akolo also emphasized that the grant assistance were “to ease access to finance with the aim to protect and empower the poorest sectors of the population such as women groups, and it offers them opportunities to make sound business decisions.” Local businesses will be accorded priority said Minister Akolo.

 

Application to the grant scheme will start immediately for those who are interested to apply, the grant leaflet, application form and related documents can be downloaded from www.mctl.gov.to Applications will be assessed competitively against set criteria which will be made available to business and communities today, Monday 23rd September, 2013.

 

For further information on the Grant please contact secretary@mctl.gov.to alternatively to the Tourism Division of the Ministry at telephone 23688 or email kolotiaf@mctl.gov.to. For further information on the Manufacturing Grant please contact the Trade & Investment Division of the Ministry at telephone 23688 or email moanat@mctl.gov.to