Thursday, 18 April 2013 8:55 AM

Outrage Over MPs Entitlement Increase

There is outrage over the four fold increase in entitlements to members of parliaments (MPs), many say it is untimely and unjustified.

Anti-corruption Network Solomon Islands calls on the parliamentary Entitlements Commission to immediately revoke the huge increase.

Media reports say the increases include SB$400,000 terminal grant on completion of a four year term next year, an increase from SB$100,000 dollars. The cost of the terminal grant alone for all MPs is SB$20 million dollars, other entitlements would also cost taxpayers millions of dollars. There are also increases in fuel allowance and per diem for overseas travel, among others.

The anti-corruption network says the decision to increase the Parliamentary entitlements was done contrary to the prevailing economic situation of the country. The group says the huge increase in MP's entitlements is nothing more than “greed and empire building by the leaders, adding it’s a shame on the leaders who are serving themselves without the slightest care for the people of this country.”

“We just cannot afford such an increase, it is just not right that the majority of us struggle while MPs continue to award themselves such payments,” said Leila, a mother of three.

“There are many pressing issues that need government support – our teachers, the dengue outbreak, conditions of our public servants, why are these issues ignored,” stated a former school principal, now retired.

The entitlements were approved by three members of the Commission, the Chairman Mr. Johnson Siapu, Finance Minister Rick Hou and Public Accounts Committee Chair Douglas Ete.

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