Parliament has approved the motion to amend the Parliamentary Remunerations Act 2014 which means the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, assistant ministers, Leader of the Opposition and Members of Parliament receive $10,000 a year as Parliamentary Duty Allowance.
While opposing the motion, FijiFirst MP, Faiyaz Koya said this new allowance was not approved under the Parliamentary Remunerations Act 2014 and now, the government is trying to rectify their mistakes.
Koya says all FijiFirst parliamentarians will return the funds that has been disbursed by parliament as Parliamentary Duty Allowance, as this was illegal.
While supporting the motion, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad says the allowance is only a monthly installment to fulfill the needs of the people they represent.
He says the legislature has been given substantial funding and this is to ensure that Parliamentary Committees work well on addressing some issues.
Professor Prasad says the real motive from the Opposition is for all the money to go into their party’s coffers.
FijiFirst MP Premila Kumar says it is illegal to receive the funds as it was not endorsed by parliament. She says any amount of damage control will tarnish the government’s image and people are already talking about what the government did in this regard.
Kumar raised the question on how the funds are being deposited into the accounts of MPs without getting approval from parliament.
She adds they are guided by the Parliament Remunerations Act and the Act does not make reference to this allowance.
The motion has been passed in Parliament with 29 members voting for it, 25 voted against, and 1 did not cast the vote.
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