TSI welcomes PEC decision to postpone MPs’ entitlement


TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands has welcomed the decision by the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission to postpone the proposal for salary arrears of Members of Parliament to next year.

PEC agreed to this decision on April 1 due to the state of the country’s economy impacted by Covid-19 and the upcoming National General Elections in April 2024.

TSI Chief Executive Officer, Ruth Liloqula said this was a best decision made so far by PEC.

However, she said the justification to consider the proposal at the first place was not warranted.

Liloqula said PEC should not compare remuneration increase of Chief Justice with the MPs.

She said the increase remuneration for Chief Justice is warranted because you cannot pick someone from the street to occupy the position.

“As a Chief Justice, you have to possess higher education qualification, experience in law and work everyday from Monday to Friday.

“Unlike the MPs, the only qualification is you have to be a Solomon Islands citizen and win the election to get into Parliament,” she said.

As such, Liloqula said you cannot compare the Chief Justice with the MPs’ entitlements.

Moreover, the TSI CEO said the Minister of Finance and Treasury and Chairman of Public Accounts Committee should not be part of PEC.

She alleged there is high possibility they could influence the decision of PEC in relation to MPs’ entitlements.

Therefore, she said there should be neutral people in the Commission for transparency and accountability’s sake.

Apart from that, in February this year, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer suggested that a “Government Remuneration Tribunal” be set up to deal with salaries and benefits of the Government and the Public Service.

He repeated this proposal in his speech at the opening of the 2023 Legal Year last week.

“I have suggested that a “Government Remuneration Tribunal”, similar to the model in Vanuatu be set up, by legislation, which can be responsible for dealing with the salaries and benefits of all other leaders (including Constitutional Post holders) in the Government and Provincial Governments, and the Public Service, Sir Albert said.

“So, whenever there is a review done on salaries, this body can liaise closely with the “Members of Parliament (Entitlements) Commission”, so that it is considered on a holistic basis and not piecemeal or reactionary,” he added

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