15th February, 2017 The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva officially launched Tonga Development Bank (TDB) ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau Voucher Remittance Product yesterday 14th February, 2017 in a ceremony at Wesley Square, Tungi Colonnade.
The initiative aims to help keep New Zealand to Tonga channel open and provides a secure, cheaper, faster and easier way for Tongan communities in New Zealand to send money to their families in Tonga.
Hon Pohiva in his keynote address stated that the Online ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau Voucher Remittance Product was developed by TDB over the past three years.
“The Online ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau Voucher Remittance Product is a unique Tongan own product. It was developed by the Tonga Development Bank for the technical assistance of the eye of the private sector of the World Bank over the last three years,” he said.
Hon Pohiva said that almost 30% of the country’s economy is propped by remittances and Tonga relies on Tongan communities overseas to send money to support their loved ones.
He said sending money to Tonga has been challenging over the years. For the sender overseas are faced with challenges such as high cost and the receiver in Tonga would also travel into town to collect the cash and pay fees and sometimes they may have to wait.
Hon Pohiva stated that although the development ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau voucher remittance has taken a considerable time but is reflective of the state of flux apparent in remittance markets around the world which is not new to Tonga.
He said the initiative is in a position that could lift financial inclusion in the Tongan community.
“Tonga Development Bank is uniquely placed to service this market. It is an intensive network of physical branches in Tongatapu and throughout the outer islands and ready access to pa’anga liquidity. It is a position where it could life financial position in the Tongan community and it is going to deliver through the ‘ave pa’anga pau, a quality online product which is simple to use from anywhere; safe, secure, low cost and sustainable.”
Hon Pohiva urged seasonal workers who are employed by New Zealand under the RSE scheme every year to use ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau.
“Three thousand citizen workers from Tonga are employed this year under the RSE scheme established by New Zealand. They represent a very large potential market that Tonga Development bank service efficiently to the benefit of the workers and their families. I’m pleased to see RSE leaders and your groups attending today and I encourage you to use ‘Ave Pa’anga Pau and save money in Tonga through the Tonga Development Bank Saving Program while you are working in New Zealand.”
Present in the ceremony were the Minister of Public Enterprises Hon Poasi Tei, Australian High Commissioner HE Mr Andrew Ford, Chairman of TDB Lord Matoto, President of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga Rev. Dr ‘Ahio, Government CEO’s and guests.
Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications