MPs terminal grants sky rockets from $100k to $400k
All the 50 Members of Parliament (MPs) will recieve a handsome payout of $400, 000.00 as terminal grant when they exit the house and complete their four years term by September next year.
This is one of the entitlements included in a new regulation amongst others that is likely to come into effect following the commission’s endorsement almost two weeks ago.
This payout is an increase of $300, 000.00. Previously MPs are entitled to get $100,000 as their terminal grant.
But the chairman of the parliamentary entitlements commission (PEC) Johnson Siapu has defended the increase describing it as geniune.
Other increases to the new entitlements of MPs included the ‘Discretionary Fund’, which doubled from $150,000 to $300,000.
Also featured in this year’s increase is fuel allowance from $4,000 to $4,500 a month for MPs entitled to official vehicle.
MP’s per diem when travelling overseas was also increased by USD$50 a day or SBD$400 a day.
This means the Prime Minister when on overseas travel is entitled to about SBD$3,200 spending money a day while for ministers and Leader of the Opposition SBD$2,800 and ordinary MPs SBD$2,400 a day.
Another major change was the $10,000 education grant for each MP a year to be paid directly to the MP, and not requiring the MP to produce supporting documents such as pro forma invoices from schools.
This means payments are not required to be paid to schools by Parliament.
But the Chairman explained the increases were made after thorough assessment by members of the commission.
“PEC does not endorse the increases alone. They were done after thorough considerations of the submissions from MP’s and the government caucus,” Mr Siapu explained.
With the MPs terminal grant, Government will dig deep next year to secure $20 million to meet its obligation for the 50 exiting MPs, something the finance minister Rick Hou is very conscious of.
“I told the commission this will be a hefty call on the government budget.
“It is quite a portion of the budget.
“The government will find ways to source funds to support it,” the finance minister said.
He said the government has the capacity to collect revenue and to sustain it.
Mr. Hou said some submissions were thrown off by PEC otherwise the increases could be much higher.
The PEC commission consist of the chairman Mr Siapu, the minister of finance and treasury Mr Hou, chairman of the public accounts committee Hon. Douglas Ete, retired Arch Bishop Sir Elision Pogo and Alfred Maetia, who is yet to take his oath.
Although Mr Maetia and Mr Pogo did not attend the deliberations of the commission, PEC did go ahead with the review because it has the quorum of three of its members.