Debate on $10k allowance

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Prof. Biman Prasad during break between sessions at the Parliament complex in Suva on Monday, Sep 11, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Social media is rife with comments on whether the $10,000 Parliamentary Duty Allowance is necessary at this juncture.

However, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Professor Biman Prasad, while welcoming the diverse views on the topic, said it was important to note that Parliament was an independent institution.

On Monday, Parliament approved the motion to amend the Parliamentary Remunerations Act 2014.

As a result, the Prime Minister, all Cabinet ministers including assistant ministers, the Leader of the Opposition among other MPs are expected to receive $10,000 annually as Parliamentary Duty Allowance. He said people had every right to talk about the $10,000 allowance.

“Parliament gets a budget and decides how to support MPs in their duties. It is not a new thing, it was there,” he said.

Prof Prasad said the last time there was a Parliamentary Duty Allowance was 20 years ago, which was $7000.

He said Parliament had decided the $10,000 would be duty allowance, and that after 20 years, it was a $3000 increase.

“We can’t desert the powers of the Parliament.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka did not want to comment when asked about the issue yesterday.

“We cannot talk about that while Parliament is still sitting,” he said.

“After Parliament ends on Friday, then I can give a comment.”

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