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PRESS RELEASE June 15, 2018

Tonga’s Cyclone Gita Recovery Receives Significant Boost

World Bank approves further financial support under policy reform operation

WASHINGTON D.C., June 15, 2018 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved an additional US$10 million for Tonga’s Second Inclusive Growth Development Policy Operation, as the nation continues to recover from February’s Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The Second Development Policy Operation was approved in April 2017, and supported reforms to strengthen the government’s finances and foster a more dynamic economy.  The severe impact of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Gita, the strongest cyclone to impact Tonga since 1982, has prompted a need for additional support for the government’s recovery efforts and to advance its longer-term economic reform agenda.

“Supplemental financing for the Development Policy Operation bolsters the government’s efforts to meet the urgent needs of cyclone recovery and ensure that its finances are sustainable,” said Michel Kerf, Country Director for Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands. “The World Bank stands by the government of Tonga as it continues to deliver on its reform agenda while facing the impacts of the worst natural disaster to hit the Kingdom in decades.”

Supported by the current series of three Development Policy Operations, the government will continue to implement reforms to increase revenue collection, better manage spending on public sector salaries, and adopt a rule-based fiscal strategy. To promote a more dynamic and inclusive economy, the government also plans to adopt more streamlined rules for foreign investment, increase private sector participation in public enterprises, put in place employment relations legislation, and more efficiently regulate the energy sector.

Supplemental funds for the Tonga Second Development Policy Operation will be funded through a US$10 million grant from the Crisis Response Window of the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the most in-need countries. The Crisis Response Window was established in 2011 to help recipients of IDA financing recover from severe disasters and crises.


Ben Brighouse
+61 433 028 405