Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry has rejected the excuse by the Prime Minister that he is still picking up $3000 a day in overseas travel allowance because the matter has to be first considered by the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee and then endorsed by Parliament.
Chaudhry says they do not buy this excuse, and at the time of COVID, all Ministers and MPs had taken a voluntary 10 percent pay cut.
The former Prime Minister asks why can’t the same procedure be followed now, and the Ministers take a voluntary reduction in travel allowances immediately.
Chaudhry says after all, this was one of the major election promises made by the partners in the coalition government.
The FLP Leader says the people expect the Ministers to implement an immediate cut in overseas allowances in line with this promise.
Chaudhry says he is noticing that the Ministers are travelling a lot and a number of them did not even attend the Economic Summit because they were on overseas visits.
He says if this is how the coalition government intends to conduct itself, then there is no difference between them and the FijiFirst government.
On the question of the national minimum wage, Chaudhry says he was surprised that the Prime Minister admitted he did not know whether it had been implemented or not.
Chaudhry says this is a matter his Labour Minister should have followed up on immediately after it became effective on 1st January 2023 and reported to Cabinet.
He says we notice the Labour Minister is hardly in the country, and he has already made three overseas trips since his appointment and is currently in China.
Chaudhry says the issue of ministerial visits overseas is another matter that needs to be addressed in the interest of accountability and transparency.
He says every time a minister goes on an overseas trip, there should be a government statement on what the visit is all about and the duration of the minister’s absence from Fiji.
The FLP Leader says on returning home, a report should be made to Parliament on the visit.
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