Parties back MPs pay review

Political party leaders meet members of the MOG. Picture: SUPPLIED

THREE political parties agree the pay structure for Fiji’s prime minister and cabinet ministers needs to be reviewed.

As we head towards the 2018 General Election, The Fiji Times asked the seven registered political parties contesting the 2018 polls what would be their policies on the salaries of the prime minister and cabinet ministers.

The National Federation Party, Fiji Labour Party and the Freedom Alliance believe that the salaries of the prime minister and the cabinet ministers are too high.

HOPE party, Social Democratic Liberal Party, Unity Fiji and the FijiFirst party did not respond to the question when this edition went to press last night.

Questions were sent to the parties via electronic mail (email) on Tuesday.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said the FijiFirst Government’s leadership of the country had been a bigger disgrace than ministerial salaries and allowances.

“When it comes to paying themselves, FijiFirst have undoubtedly made great achievements,” Prof Prasad claimed.

“The PM and the A-G talk about ‘transparency and accountability’ but when it comes to ministerial salaries and allowances, there is neither.”

FLP parliamentary leader Aman Ravindra- Singh said the party had always advocated accountability and transparency in governance.

“In keeping with this policy, the salaries and allowances of members of parliament, including ministers and the Speaker, will be determined
in an open, accountable and transparent manner,” Mr Ravindra- Singh said.

He said an independent commission comprising eminently qualified persons would undertake such determinations from time to time, but not more frequently than once in five years.

Freedom Alliance leader Jagath Karunaratne said the salary scales should have a balanced approach across the board for all parliamentarians
and not only for the executive and supporting ministers.

“The proper and fair remuneration system for parliamentarians serves many purposes and it must be viewed together with the workforce, cost
of living factors, obligations and responsibilities towards families and also as a fair and equitable society,” Mr Karunaratne said.

“However, exorbitant increases and allowances such as $3000 a day on overseas trips defeats the purpose of fair and equitable remuneration.
“One of the key issues today is the lack of participation in national leadership.

“While the often coups that disturb the grooming leadership cycle could be the main issue, politics is not viewed as a professional career path
could be another.”