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Students question Attorney-General on salaries of ministers

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

THE salaries of Government ministers were questioned by high school students during the National Budget Consultation in Sigatoka recently.

The issue was put forward to Minister for Economy and Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who addressed the secondary students during a budgetary consultation last week.

He explained that corruption was more likely to occur if public officials were being paid less than what they deserved.

"If you go to PNG, NZ and Australia, their (ministers') salaries are way higher," he said.

"India has been rated as the most corrupted Asian country in the world. And in Singapore, they pay their ministers in US dollars. They pay them $US1.5million ($F3.1m). So talking about ministers' salaries, if you look at the corruption levels of the previous governments, isn't it better to pay somebody well than to have a corrupt country. If you are going to pay your ministers a small amount of money, do you think that the opportunity for corruption would increase?"

He said each aspect of a minister's salary was taken into account by Government.

"We have to find out how each person is using that money. These are the kinds of things that we look at. We have to look at the management of these funds.

"When you become a minister, you will be given a set amount of salary, but we also take into account who's paying for his water, who's paying for his electricity and who's paying for all of his other expenses.

"In some countries, as soon as you become a minister, they are automatically given huge bundles. They are given servants or people that work for them at their different homes."

He said it was similar for other public servants.

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