Parliament steps in to plug leak in national coffers

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By Alfred Sasako

ORDINARY Members of Parliament will no longer be allowed hotel accommodation during sittings of Parliament, it was revealed yesterday.

Instead, the five or six Ordinary MPs will receive a lump sum payment of $15,000 each.

The payment is the equivalent of monthly rentals Government Ministers and Chairmen of Parliamentary Committees receive for staying in their own houses.

The change came about after revelation that Ordinary MPs opted to stay in hotel accommodation during Parliament sittings, although they live in their houses in Honiara.

The change is expected to save Parliament tens of thousands of dollars a year.

“What usually happened was Ordinary MPs moved into hotels when Parliament was in session. Parliament has never encountered any problems with the arrangement until the unnecessary adjournments became a permanent feature of Parliamentary sittings,” an official explained to Island Sun yesterday.

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“When that happened, Parliament had to write to each MP, advising that MPs had to vacate their hotels as Parliament had no funds to meet their accommodation costs during adjournments. Legally, these MPs have the right to remain in their hotels for the duration of the sessions including the adjournment periods,” the official said.

The problem is Parliament had no funds for this.

To avoid unnecessary confusion, it has now been decided that Ordinary MPs be paid $15,000 at the start of each Parliament sitting.

The new arrangement comes into force in July when Parliament next sits.

Hotel accommodation for MPs was written into the Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations (PER) to cater for MPs who lived in their Constituencies.

Today nearly all the MPs live in their own houses in Honiara.

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