World Bank Board Approves Second US$5 Million operation
WASHINGTON, October 29, 2014 - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$5 million for the Second Economic Support Development Policy Operation, which will support the Kingdom of Tonga’s continued economic growth through further strengthening government finances, boosting economic resilience, and improving business conditions.
The Second Economic Support Development Policy Operation is the culmination of a two-year program to support the government’s national development strategy, which includes bolstering the efficiency of the public sector, and strengthening the foundations for private sector development and shared prosperity. This will be achieved by supporting policy reforms which improve public procurement processes, streamline discretionary tax exemptions, encourage foreign direct investment, and deliver targeted electricity price reductions for the most needy.
“The Government of Tonga is dedicated to continuing to strengthen our economy through sustained reforms that will in the long term ensure our financial security,” said Hon. Aisake ‘Eke, Tonga’s Minister for Finance and National Planning. “We are committed to setting strong foundations for medium- and long-term improvements in standards of living through ensuring shared prosperity, jobs growth and better public service delivery.”
In addition to supporting continual economic growth, this latest part of the program includes a particular focus on policies to support Tonga’s most vulnerable people – including women, children and the elderly – ensuring that everyone benefits from the nation’s continued growth.
“This operation represents the second stage of a commitment to ensuring Tonga’s long-term economic growth which will provide the basis for improved livelihoods for the Tongan people, including the most vulnerable,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands.
The Second Economic Support Development Policy Operation is funded through a US$2.5 million grant and a US$2.5 million highly concessional credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. This support builds on gains achieved by previous budget support operations in 2011, 2012 and 2013.