Financial Secretary Office News

Financial Secretary Office News

Deposit Instrument of Accession with World Customs Organisation

On Monday 13th May 2019, at the Oceania Customs Organisation annual conference held in Saipan, Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands CNMI, the Cook Islands became the second non-World Customs Organisation member, and the 118th country to accede to the Revised Kyoto Convention.

The Cook Islands was represented by Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Tingika Elikana who deposited the Instrument of Accession on behalf of the Cook Islands Government.


Associate Minister of Finance Honourable Tingika Elikana deposits the instrument of Accession
with World Customs Organisation Deputy Secretary General Mr Ricardo Trevino

The Revised Kyoto Convention is the global blueprint for the simplification, harmonization and modernization of customs procedures. The original Convention was concluded in Kyoto in 1973 and entered into force in September 1974. It was reviewed over a period of years and amended in 1999.

In June 1999, the Council of the World Customs Organisation approved the Revised International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures Revised Kyoto Convention. The Revised Kyoto Convention has been developed in the face of mounting pressure from the international trading community to minimize the level of customs intervention in cargo movement and to maximize the level of trade facilitation. The Revised Kyoto Convention came into force on Feb 3, 2006.

The Revised Kyoto Convention has the following objectives:

  • Eliminating divergence between the customs procedures and practices of Contracting Parties that can hamper international trade and other international exchanges;
  • Meeting the needs of international trade and Customs for facilitation, simplification and harmonization of customs procedures and practices;
  • Ensuring appropriate standards of Customs control; and
  • Enabling Customs organizations to respond to major changes in business and administrative methods and techniques.

The Revised Kyoto Convention incorporates important concepts of contemporary compliance management. These include the application of new technology, the implementation of new philosophies on customs control and the willingness of private sector partners to engage with customs authorities in mutually beneficial alliances. Central to the new governing principles of the Revised Kyoto Convention is a required commitment by customs administrations to provide transparency and predictability for all those involved in aspects of international trade. In addition, the customs administrations are required to:

  • Commit to adopt the use of risk management techniques;
  • Co-operate with other relevant authorities and trade communities;
  • Maximize the use of information technology; and
  • Implement appropriate international standards.

The revised Convention benefits many people. Traders will benefit from improved facilitation and reduced costs. Shippers and transport operators will benefit from uniform Customs control and quicker movement of cargo and people. Government will benefit from more effective controls that increase border security and reduce revenue leakage. In summary, Revised Kyoto Convention will provide international commerce with the predictability and efficiency that modern trade requires.

7 June 2019

Call for submissions on the draft Telecommunications Market Competition Policy 2019

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) today released the draft Cook Islands Telecommunications Market Competition Policy 2019 for public consultation.

The Cook Islands has been serviced by a single telecommunications operator, partly-owned by the Government, under a legislated monopoly since 1989, with limited independent oversight. While this approach has served the Cook Islands well to date, the telecommunications landscape, both here and abroad, has changed considerably since the Telecommunications Act 1989 came into force.

Innovation and development in the telecommunications industry in the form of new services – such as the ‘app’ economy – are posing new challenges and opportunities for established regulation. The local infrastructure landscape is also changing. The Manatua Cable, which is expected to start service in mid-2020, will provide fast, reliable and affordable internet services. In addition, experience elsewhere in the world has demonstrated the benefits of competition in the telecommunications industry: for consumers through access to new services and lower service prices, and for business through new investment opportunities.

“The Government is committed to opening up the telecommunications market to competition to secure these benefits, and at the same time adapting the regulatory framework so that it is fit for purpose in this 21st Century environment”, Acting Financial Secretary Lavinia Tama, said.

The Government’s proposals in this regard are set out in the draft policy, on which the Government is seeking industry and community feedback.

“The closing date for submissions is Friday 14 June 2019. Written submissions received by the closing date will be considered in the development of the final policy. The Government is also planning to hold a number of public forums at dates and venues to be announced. This will provide another opportunity for comment”, said Ms Tama.

The draft policy is available on MFEM’s website at or can be obtained by either contacting the MFEM Economics Unit on 29511 or via email at
Submissions can be sent to MFEM by post at PO Box 120, Avarua, via e-mail at, or lodged in person at Level 1, MFEM Building, Avarua.

8 May 2019

Cook Islands Government Quarterly Financial Report – December 2018

Cook Islands Government Quarterly Financial Report

December 2018.

 Category: Financial Secretary Office News

The Cook Islands Government (CIG) preliminary financial outcome for the December 2018 quarter is now available.

Net Operating Balance and Fiscal Balance of General Government

December 2018 Quarter







Operating Revenue $94,296 $98,237 $3,941
Operating Expenditure $83,488 $74,612 $8,876
Net Operating Balance $10,808 $23,625 $12,817
Add Depreciation $4,679 $3,935 $744
Less Capital Expenditure -$16,298 -$11,391 -$4,906
Fiscal Balance -$810 $16,169 $16,979

The net operating balance for the period ended 31 December 2018 was a surplus of $23.63 million, which represents a $12.82 million higher compared to the surplus estimated for the quarter.

The favourable result was driven mainly by;

  1. Savings in overall operating expenditure of $8.88 million. The first three months of the financial year evidenced greater control of operating expenditure due to the delayed tabling of the Appropriation Bill as a result of the 2018 general election. Administered Payments and Other Expenses was the main contributor followed by Ministry and Pa Enua Expenditures
  2. Crown Revenue collected was $3.94 million above Budget Estimates. Fishing Licenses was the main contributor to the above budget estimates, due to end of the calendar year rush to purchase bilateral purse seine days. This was due to the high presence of Skip Jack Tuna in our EEZ in November and December.

Fiscal Balance

The overall fiscal balance for the reporting period was $16.17million, after taking into account spending on Capital expenditure of $11.39 million and adding back depreciation funding of $3.94 million.

Compared to budget, spending on Capital projects were below estimates by $4.91 million. The variance was mainly due to timing of spending related to a number of projects especially projects administered by Cook Islands Investment Corporation.

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Official Development Assistance was appropriated at the total value of $61.18 million in the 2018/19 Appropriation. This value includes the Core Sector Support Grant Funding Arrangement with New Zealand for Education, Health and Tourism.

This second quarter reported a total spend of $10.73 million. The low spend for ODA in the first quarter of the financial year is due to the delay in the appropriation bill being passed in parliament as well as the NZ triennium funding envelope not being confirmed due to ongoing negotiations on priorities and the design of the individual grant funding agreements.

Financial Position

Overall cash position at the end of the reporting period was $164.14 million. This includes $79.41 million of funds that are committed and set aside for specific purposes. This leaves $82.47 million of unencumbered cash reserve which Government can draw upon to fund future investments.

The CIG reported a gross debt of $98.94 million. This amount represents actual disbursed loans adjusted for debt service repayments. Other committed loans that have not being disbursed, like the Te Manatua Cable loan, are not included.

Net Debt was reported at $51.12 million at the end of the reporting period. Net debt adjusts the Gross Debt for the effect of the LRF held against those loans and the loans held on behalf of SOE’s.



September 2018

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