The new Parliamentary entitlements will cost approximately $50 million dollars over a four year term of Parliament, bringing the total costs of the Parliamentary entitlements close to $200 million."These increases are unjustified and should be rescinded," says Bob Pollard the Chair of Transparency Solomon Islands.
The entitlements, without the increases, will cost about $150 million per life of a parliament. This is made up of $10 million in one off grants, $32 million per year for parliamentary entitlements and $2.5 million per year for pensions to past MPs.
Some of these entitlements are already far above what is justified, for example; the terminal grant, the Overseas Clothing grant and the Overseas Daily Subsistence grant.
The changes gazetted on the 6th of July change the terminal grant (including spouses), the Ex gratia payment (this seems to be two grants for the same purpose) and land and house entitlements to former PMs.
The other increases are to the Micro projects grant, Constituency travelling grants, increased provisions for vehicles and fuel and in increase in the daily meal allowance for MPs attending parliament. They have also increased the pensions for former MPs and now former PMs get to travel Business class at the expense of the tax payer. One of the most significant changes is that now all the entitlements are tax free except for salary, this will increases the cash cost of the entitlements by millions.
TSI calls for Parliament to rescind the latest increases and reconstitute a new Parliamentary Entitlements Commission that is independent and understands the public expectations about payments to MPs.
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