Standards and Regulation in Tonga
In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index Tonga rates 58 out of 183 countries (2011). Tonga is the highest ranked amongst all the small states of the South Pacific. A high ranking on the index means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. Tonga has a relatively a few independent or semi-independent regulators perhaps as result of the country small private sector. Most regulatory control is in the hands of ministries. Regulators include the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, the financial services regulator, the Companies Office of the Kingdom of Tonga which registers companies, the Ministry of Information and Communications which regulates telecoms and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Fisheries which issues fisheries licenses. Tonga does not have a standards certification bureau and is not a subscribing member of International Organisation for Standardization. Tonga’s principle economic standards and regulations span a wide range of sectors, including construction, aviation, food, education and environment. Tonga Airports Limited (TAL) operates the six airports in Tonga; it is accountable to the standards and regulations of the Civil Aviation Act 1990. Building Code Regulations were introduced to Tonga in 2007 and the Food Act was introduced in 2010. There are currently no regulations for water safety in Tonga; this is currently overseen by the Ministry of Health who carry out water quality sampling (2011).