Posted by: nativeiowan | August 4, 2009

press release 4-8-09

 Entitlements that MPs’s receive: Part One 

Dear Editor,  I wish to discuss the above referenced topic. This is part one in that I will prepare an actual costing that will show what a) a general member to parliament, b) A Minister of the Crown, and c) the Prime Minster costs the nation annually as well as each term.  Going through the entitlements does get confusing very quickly. I will refrain from noting too strongly what the numerous  additional appointments, committees, Caucus members, etc. cost us all. For now we will focus on what the cost to the Public for their parliamentarians may be.

But first, lets review the current costs and recent changes that have sparked so much controversy. The facts are bound within the Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations , April 2008, and Extraordinary Gazette, (Legal Notice No. 45) Monday 6th July, 2009

Initial notes and findings:

  1. The changes were made to the April 2008 regulations. I am very curious what the increases just a year ago were… one could ask if indeed a change to such an Already Huge Expense is required, annually?
  2. all payments to MPs are tax free except their salaries
  3. note no increase on actual wage to MPs.
  4. Allowances to visit, ‘tour” constituencies increased 53.3% from 80,000.00 to 150,000.00.
  5. Each MP receives a “micro project” fund of 80,000.00 per year. This has been increased 53.3% to 150,000
  6. All MPs receive a 10,000.00 “appointment grant”
  7. All Ministers, etc receive an additional “appointment grant” of 10,000.00
  8. All MPs receive a 24,000.00 per year “clothing grant’
  9. All Ministers, etc receive an additional 40,000.00 in clothing grants

10.  Meal allowances for all MPs was raised from 200.00 per day to 300.00 per day. An increase of 66.6%

11.  “Local subsistence allowance” for all MPs is 300.00 per day

12.  “Local tiring allowance” for all MPs is 300.00 per day

13.  The country is broken into Zones and each Zone is allowed an annual amount for “constituency touring allowance. There are 5 Zones. All 5 Zones had allowances increased 83%

14.  “Subsistence Allowance Overseas” varies:

PM = USD 350.00 or  SBD 2800.00 per day

DPM =  USD 300.00 or SBD 2400.00 per day

All other ministers of positioned leaders

=USD 250.00 per day of SBD 2000.00 per day

Other members

= USD 250.00 per day or SBD 2000.00 per day.

15.  Tax free terminal grant for all members = 100,000.00

16.  Standing Select Committee and Special Select Committees  = 400.00 per day extra payment.

17.  Death or Injury            =            50,000.00

Increased to =            100,000.00

18.  Ex Gratia tax free            =            25,000.00

Increased to =            100,000.00

(only when the Member is not re-elected into Parliament)

19.  Transport Allowance in the absence of a Govt. vehicle for Ministers, LOO, L/Ind./Dep. Spk., Chairman of Parl. Caucus and Chairman of Stand. Cttees =            3,000.00 per month, Increased to            =            7,000.00

20.  MPs holding and garaging govt. vehicle. Paid a fuel allowance

21.  =            3,000.00 per month

Increased to            =            6,000.00

22.  Transport Allowance  to MPs for being in Honiara on                         constituency or govt business. Paid twice per year.

= 3,000.00

23.   Ministers with extra portfolios =            800.00 per month

24.  Spouses Entitlement            =            50,000.00

25.  Lastly: the increases to the pensions all Members receive…  All pensions have been increased. Of course the big one is the pension for the PM. The new change is written in such a manager that each and every living ex-Prime Minister receives a wage, a house, a car and medical treatment for life. It is written to include any Member to Parliament that has held the office of PM is eligible for these benefits. The House and car are the new additions herein. So what does a nice house cost… 2 million Solomon Dollars? Not big enough. How many ex PMs do we currently have? I count five.

In ending Part One: My next step will be to break all the costs down and list them so we can see what each separate level of parliament costs us.  The fact herein is though very clear… we have just seen a set of regulations that were reviewed only 14 months ago, revisited, and have seen increases in a number of areas. Now the main point of contension herein is where will the money to pay for our Parliamentarians come from? Private Sector is taxed beyond endurance. It is fairly estimated that sixty cents out of every dollar belongs to Government. Can we increase this higher? The General Citizenry of the Nation falls into the Least Developed Nation income bracket of less than 5000.00 Solomon Dollars per Annum. The Public Service is demanding an increase in wages too… how come our Parliamentarians can justify a raise when everyone else has to tighten their belts?

And, to think, an increase to 70 members of Parliament is deemed as prudent?

Ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls, this is all simply too much to bear. It is blatant abuse of office. Some of it may be legal (but I can’t see how any payment to a Leader of the Country can be given as tax-free… such is an insult to the public at large) but, BUT, the point here is… can we afford it? And, of course, the answer is NO! We have a huge and growing population to educate, keep healthy and assist in finding a prosperous future. Handing more money to those who do the least may not be the best way to plan for a rosy future. I say increase spending on the rural sector, the youth, education, medical services, transport, and infrastructure… most definitely not an increase to the cost of our already overly expensive Government.

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