Fiji Labour Party Condemns Huge Allowance Increases For Members Of Parliament

Chaudhry calls nearly 300% increase 'shocking' and 'unethical'

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 29, 2016) – The Fiji Labour Party has condemned the massive increases in the allowances of members of Parliament proposed by an in-house committee of MPs.

Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the emolument committee's proposed increase was shocking.

"First of all, it is unethical to have the allowances reviewed by a committee of MPs themselves," Mr Chaudhry said.

He said the rates proposed could not be justified in the context of what was generally obtainable in the public and private sectors for payments of a similar nature.

"The proposed increase in sitting allowance from $150 [US$73] to $440 [US$214] per day for accommodation and meals is ultra-generous when viewed against the fact that most ordinary workers get paid around $110 [US$53] per week.

"Such self-generosity with public money is rather contemptible considering some 30 per cent of our poor go to bed half hungry each night."

He said the overseas travel allowances proposed for the PM and the ministers were mind boggling.

"The prime minister will be paid the equivalent of 350 per cent of the UNDP rate plus another $600 [$292] per day. What is this $600 for is not known.

"Other ministers will receive 300 per cent of the UNDP rate plus $500 [US$243] per day on top — it's just too much to digest."

Mr Chaudhry said at a time when the nation had hardly recovered from the devastating effects of a disastrous cyclone, the proposal was not what the public expected from its elected leaders.

The Parliament is expected to debate on the proposed increment today.

Fiji Times Online.
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