Cook Islands: Ministry of Finance

Cook Islands Ministry of Finance News

One step closer to direct access to climate change financing

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) is pleased to announce that it has formally responded to feedback given from the Adaptation Fund panel on its original National Implementing Entity (NIE) submission.  This latest submission shows growing evidence of MFEM’s strides to implement internationally recognised systems in key areas like financial management, procurement and activity management, taking the journey to accreditation one step closer to a reality.  Minister of Finance the Honourable Mark Brown noted that “in the context of no Pacific Island countries having yet gained NIE status, the Cook Islands Government can be very proud of its achievements to date”.
One of the significant achievements highlighted in the NIE submission includes the endorsement of Te Tarai Vaka as the national activity management system for all of government.  This new system was introduced in draft back in December 2014 and has recently been finalised and made accessible via the MFEM website (  The system outlines policies, processes and templates related to managing government and donor funded priorities in a transparent and accountable way.  Of particular note is the introduction of a Social and Environmental Safeguards Policy and Guidelines which aims for sustainable development and resilient communities through managing potential adverse impacts to the environment and communities ensuring a minimum 'do-no-harm' approach.
Minister Brown outlined that “considering the Cook Islands is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), extremely vulnerable to current and future threats of climate change, it would be a great achievement locally, regionally, and internationally for MFEM to gain accreditation”.  
The ultimate benefits of successful accreditation include:
•direct access by the Cook Islands to global climate change funds; 
•beneficial learning through building institutional capacities;
•strengthening relevant policies, systems, processes, documentation and examples of good practice;
•defining processes that may already be working and improving others helps support the achievement of better development outcomes; 
•building confidence of development partners in national systems and processes;
•continuing to invest in building existing country systems and capacity whilst driving national priorities with retained funds through direct access; and
•assisting to better position the Cook Islands, both in the pacific region and globally.
For further information contact Lavinia Tama.

2014/15 Preliminary outcome released

Cook Islands Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mark Brown, released the 2014/15 preliminary outcome.

The estimated net operating balance of the General Government Sector for 2014/15 was a surplus of $6.1 million:

• Operating revenue was $128.2 million; and
• Operating expenditure was $122.1 million.

The estimated overall fiscal balance for 2014/15 was a deficit of $5.077 million.

Higher revenue collections were mainly attributable to higher than estimated revenue from fishing licences and fines during the year.

Lower operating expenses were mainly attributable to lower levels of spending by agencies, savings in the underwrite of air services to Rarotonga from Los Angeles and Sydney, and lower guaranteed profit payments to Toa.

Total capital expenditure and investment by the Cook Islands Government was $17.354 million in 2014/15, the lower than budgeted figure was mainly due delays in the tendering processes of some larger projects, particularly Te Mato Vai Stage 2.

Total expenditure, inclusive of reported development partner assistance was estimated to be $181.587 million compared to the approved appropriation of $224.383 million. This spending incorporates spending provided under additional authorities made through Orders in Executive Council.

In commenting on the outcome, Minister Brown highlighted that even without the increased revenue resulting from fishing that the Government still would have made a net operating surplus.

The full report is available on the MFEM website


01 October 2015

Payment of advance by Pacific Schooners

On 1 October 2015 the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management received the full repayment of an advance which was provided to Pacific Schooners for the provision of services related to the 2015 Constitutional celebrations.   Pacific Schooners did not provide any services under the vessel charter arrangement signed on 8 May 2015.  
1 October 2015

Order in Executive Council designates foreign governments under the 2013 Provision of Customer Information Act

The Financial Institution (Provision of Customer Information) Act 2013 (the “Act”) passed in December 2013 was designed to remove legislative barriers which prevent Banks and Trust Companies that operate in the Cook Islands from providing to the tax authorities of other countries information relating to their citizens.  The Order in Executive Council passed this week officially designates the United States of America, Australia, and New Zealand as the foreign countries that the Act will apply to.
This Order in Executive Council is part of the Cook Islands commitment towards a globally competitive and reputable financial industry.
29 September 2015

Jubilee Jumpstart kicks off advances financial literacy in primary schools

Jubilee Jumpstart, a joint Cook Islands Government and Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) initiative to teach young primary school children the value of saving has taken off with a bang, as certificates are presented at all schools across the Cook Islands.

As part of the 50th constitution celebrations, the Government and the BCI have worked together to gift a Jubilee Jumpstart Savings Bond for every primary school student enrolled in the Cook Islands on 4 August 2015.

The bond with a current value of $125 will be invested for five years at the Bank of Cook Islands, and on maturing on 22 September 2020 after being invested at 4.4 per cent per annum the bond will be worth $155.07.

Minister of Education, the Honourable Henry Puna pointed out the importance of savings, in launching the initiative at Avarua Primary on 22 September 2015. The Prime Minister pointed out the importance of the savings bond in raising awareness for children to save for their future.

Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mark Brown pointed out an analogy that he had recently heard where a local teacher had asked children to plant a tree at the same time so that they could see it grow like their savings.

Individualised Jubilee Jumpstart certificates are being provided to primary school students at every school in Term 3.

In Term 4 BCI and the Ministry of Education will commence rolling out financial literacy activities in all schools across the Cook Islands with a focus on the importance of saving for the future.

Managing Director of BCI, Vaine Nooana-Arioka pointed that BCI will be encouraging young children to establish a five year savings plan similar to the Jubilee Jumpstart which if adhered to would attract a bonus payment at the end in addition to the normal interest.

29 September 2015

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