‘Slap in the face’ | FLP, Unity Fiji oppose Coalition’s pay increase decision

Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube (right) and Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudary during a joint press conference. Picture: FILE

The leaders of Fiji Labour Party and Unity Fiji, Mahendra Chaudhry and Savenaca Narube, say they “strongly oppose the Coalition Government’s decision to give themselves a pay increase” at a time when the people are struggling to cope with the cost of living triggered by tax increases in the 2023/2024 Budget.

Both leaders were referring to the new allowance of $10,000 per member of Parliament and the annual grant of $325,000 per political party in Parliament.

In a joint statement, Mr Chaudhry and Mr Narube said these allowances line the pockets of parliamentarians and their political parties, and they were also not transparent and “smack” of the tactics of the FijiFirst government.

They added this move was “a slap in the face” of many families who were struggling to put food on the table and find clothes and shoes for their children.

In an earlier interview with this newspaper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad said the $10,000 parliamentary allowance for members of Parliament was nothing new as it was part of the usual allocation allocated to political parties to assist them in their duties.

Prof Prasad said it was the case in all democratic countries where MPs were allocated funds to assist them in carrying out their duties to their constituencies.

“This is not a new allocation; this is an allocation that was already there,” he said.

“The other thing that people don’t understand is that the budget is approved as a one-line item for the Parliament, like all independent bodies. And it’s up to it’s a prerogative of the Parliament, the Speaker and the Secretary-General to determine how political parties are supported through parliamentary funds, and how MPs are supported.”

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