Claims of newTP$50 tax per bag for air travellers are false, Minister says

'Oku 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

A claim on Facebook that government has approved a new TP$50 tax on each bag incoming travellers bring through Fua’amotu airport is not true, the Minister of Revenue and Customs has said.

Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu told Parliament on Monday he had been contacted by concerned members of the public about the claims.

He said any new taxes had to be approved by Parliament.

It was not clear who created the post, but it was quickly picked up and shared by anti-government supporters on Facebook, with some of them adding that the tax was imposed by the ‘PTOA Party government.’

It sparked an uproar on social media, with many calling for a boycott on travelling to Tonga.

In Tongan the message read:

“Ongoongo fakamamahi ke teuteu ki ai e kau folau mei muli ki Tonga: Kuo ongona mai kuo kamata totongi e tax $50 ki he piece kotoa pe ‘a e kau folau atu mei muli ‘i Mala’e Vakapuna Fua’amotu. Kapau ko ha’o ki’i kula kiki ‘e 1 mo ha’o katoleta ‘e 3 ko e taki pa’anga 50 ia ki he taha, ‘a ia ko e $200 fakakatoa te ke totongi. ‘Oku ‘ikai kau heni ho’o kato to’oto’o. Ko e ha nai e taumu’a ‘o e fu’u tanaki pa’anga fakaofo, fakamalohi, fakavalevale, mo fakatupu tamate ko eni ‘oku fai ‘e he Pule’anga Tonga ki he kau folau atu mei muli?

This translate into English as:

“Sad news for those who are travelling to Tonga. It has been told a tax charge of $50 would be charged on each baggage at the Fua’amotu airport. If you were carrying one cooler box and three luggage they would receive a $50 pa’anga charge each, so that makes $200 altogether for you to pay. This does not include your carry on luggage. What is the purpose of this unexpected, forceful, imprudent and homicidal money collection created by the Tonga government.”

This is not the first time fake news on Facebook attacking the government has reached Parliament.

As Kaniva news reported recently, anti-government elements caused an outcry on social media after they twisted a report by Auditor General which reported that Tonga had lost TP$74 million in the financial year 2016 – 2017. According to Minister of Finance this was caused by the fluctuation of foreign and Tongan exchange rates.

However, the anti-government supporters twisted the report and claimed the loss occurred after government abused its financial responsibilities.

The main points

  • A claim on Facebook that government has approved a new tax fees of TP$50 on each bag incoming travellers bring through Fua’amotu airport is not true, the Minister of Revenue and Customs has said.
  • The report was quickly picked up and shared by anti-government supporters on Facebook with some of them adding that the tax was imposed by the “PTOA Party government.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Kuo faka’ikai’i ‘e he Minisitā Tānaki Tukuhau e fakamatala ta’emo’oni ‘o pehē oku ‘i ai e tukuhau fo’ou ki he kato mo e uta ‘a e kakai folau mei muli ki Tonga’ko e pa’anga ‘e 50 ki he puha pe katoleta ‘e taha.

    Oku mahino he natula ‘o e fakamatala ko eni ne vave hono vahe holo ‘e kinautolu ‘oku nau fakafepaki ki he pule’anga ‘i he Fesipuka pea ngalingali ko e taha ‘o kinautolu ne ne fa’u ‘a fakamatala loi ni.

    Ko e fakamatala ta’emo’oni ‘eni:

    “Ongoongo fakamamahi ke teuteu ki ai e kau folau mei muli ki Tonga: Kuo ongona mai kuo kamata totongi e tax $50 ki he piece kotoa pe ‘a e kau folau atu mei muli ‘i Mala’e Vakapuna Fua’amotu. Kapau ko ha’o ki’i kula kiki ‘e 1 mo ha’o katoleta ‘e 3 ko e taki pa’anga 50 ia ki he taha, ‘a ia ko e $200 fakakatoa te ke totongi. ‘Oku ‘ikai kau heni ho’o kato to’oto’o. Ko e ha nai e taumu’a ‘o e fu’u tanaki pa’anga fakaofo, fakamalohi, fakavalevale, mo fakatupu tamate ko eni ‘oku fai ‘e he Pule’anga Tonga ki he kau folau atu mei muli?

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