FijiFirst submitted proposal similar to the committee recommendation for salary increases

FijiFirst submitted proposal similar to the committee recommendation for salary increases

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 23/05/2024
Photo : File

The only opposition party in parliament, the FijiFirst, had proposed an increase in salary of the Leader of Opposition from $120,000 to $200,000, salary of a Member of Parliament to be increased from $50,000 to $100,000, all Ministers to get $200,000, Assistant Ministers’ pay to be increased from $90,000 to $120,000 and Speaker’s salary to be increased from $150,000 to $200,000.

The proposal which is included in the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee report tabled in parliament confirms that the FijiFirst also wanted the President’s non taxable salary to be maintained at $130,000 and the Prime Minister’s salary to be maintained at $328,750.

The proposal is quite similar to the final recommendations presented in the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee report which proposes increases in salaries for the President, Speaker of Parliament, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament. The FijiFirst proposal says comparing Parliamentary Salary and Civil Servants shows a grim picture.

It says to put simply, MPs are paid the equivalent of an Army Captain over 2 years, a Superintendent of Police, a Head Teacher of a big Primary school, or a Principal of a small Secondary school.

The FijiFirst says MPs salary are not even close to Magistrates starting salary.

The opposition party says this is not to say that these posts do not deserve these salaries but when they make the comparison with MPs salaries and peg it against the critical components, the salary for MPs are quite ludicrous to say the least.

They say the irony is that candidates who did not make it to Parliament are given jobs that pay more than all of them in Parliament.

The FijiFirst also proposed that a Health and Medical Allowance must be provided at an appropriate level at to all Members of Parliament.

They also say Members of Parliament must be accorded the full status of their position.

As such when they propose that when MPs do travel, they must be accorded Business Class travel and be afforded Diplomatic Privileges.

The FijiFirst says this is in keeping with both the importance of the work they undertake as lawmakers, and their being the physical embodiment of the democratic choice of Fiji citizens.

The recommended that all Parliamentarians below the Prime Minister are to travel Business Class and be issued Diplomatic Passports.

They also proposed that all MPs be paid a Sitting Allowance of $500 per day irrespective of where they live.

The FijiFirst says this allowance will cover travel to and from Parliament, board and subsistence.

They also recommend sitting allowances for all MPs to be increased inclusive of accommodation allowance and the removal of the restrictions on the 30 kilometres distance from Suva.

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