Friday, June 14, 2024
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Changes to salaries for MPs gazetted

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says that the due processes for changes to salaries, allowances, and benefits for the President, Speaker, Leader of Opposition, and Members of Cabinet and Parliament as required by the Parliamentary Remunerations Act of 2014 have been gazetted and are now binding on the executive arm of Government to implement.

Rabuka said that unless Parliament resolves otherwise before 1 August 2024, the changes must come into effect on the said date.

This would expire on 31 December 2024, unless renewed by Parliament.

The Prime Minister also confirmed that he and a few colleagues in Cabinet will not take the salary increase after the removal of the 20 percent pay reduction put in place by the COVID-19 mini-budget in March 2020.

Rabuka did not indicate the names of these Ministers.

He reiterated that any further changes will need to be considered by the Cabinet before it is presented to Parliament for consideration.

Rabuka said he wanted to assure the nation that he listening to people’s views aired since the motion was passed on 24 May in Parliament.

Rabuka said the Special Committee on Emoluments also recommended an amendment to the 2014 Remunerations Act to require future reviews of salaries, allowances, and benefits for Members of Parliament to be conducted by an independent committee and independent experts.

He said this recommendation will require substantive amendment to the Parliamentary Remunerations Act 2014, so it requires a Bill to be drafted by the Solicitor General’s Office and the Bill will then be subject to public consultations where the people of Fiji can have their say and air their views and it will then be considered by Cabinet before it is tabled in Parliament.

Rabuka added that the Special Committee on Emoluments also recommended the substantive review; repeal and updating of the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Act 1989 and this will require a review of the 1989 Act to be carried out with consultations before a Bill is drafted by the Solicitor General’s Office and considered by Cabinet before it is tabled in Parliament.

He said members of the public will have the opportunity to be heard and have their say on both Bills before they are considered by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament.

He said as of the vote held in Parliament on Friday 24 May 2024, on the motion to accept the report and recommendations of the Special Committee on Emoluments, that “determination” or resolution of Parliament is now binding on the Executive arm of Government, to come into effect in August.

He said he is gratified to see that the people of Fiji are freely expressing their views, and exercising their freedom of expression and they no longer live in fear and the media has freely reported the peoples’ views on the matter and that this is democracy in action, where members of the public have their say and the media report freely.

Rabuka said that as the 2024-2025 Budget is being finalized before it is tabled in Parliament on Friday 28 June 2024, and then debated in Parliament from 8 to 19 July, this is a window where Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to review or reconsider their decision made last week 24th May 2024.

As leaders, Members of Parliament must consider the effect on the country of their vote held 24 May in Parliament.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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