By EDDIE OSIFELO
The entitlements and benefits MPs are getting is believed to be a driving factor behind government’s proposal to extend parliament.
This was stated in a recent survey by the Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI).
Half of the 1,248 respondents interviewed strongly agreed that the lucrative members of parliament entitlements and benefit is “one of the hidden motives for the extension of the Parliament”.
They were interviewed in a survey conducted by Transparency Solomon Islands on the opinions and views of the citizens of this country on the proposed extension of the parliament from 4 to 5 years between March 16 to 1st April 2022.
“When it comes to these entitlements and benefits, the Constituency Development Fund all sides of the house (Executive Government, the Official Opposition and the Independent) are the same – they hardly speak against it, or when they do present very weak arguments in their own favour.
“Performing or non-performing, they continue to receive lucrative allowances and other entitlements,” TSI said.
TSI said they are the most privileged of all public officers with their entitlements reviewed and new ones added yearly performing or otherwise.
“They hardly passed more than one Bill last year.
“Some MPs have not said any word for the entire parliament 4-year period or contribute to any debate of substance in the parliament and yet they continue to get these benefits for doing nothing,” TSI said.
“What is given to parliamentarians under the Parliamentary Entitlement Regulation each year should be based on their attendance, performance and active engagement.
“The taxpayer of the Solomon Islands should no longer pay non performing parliamentarians,” TSI said.
“Let people vote in new representatives every 4 years to get rid of highly paid non performing MPs,” TSI said.
One commonly quoted comment by the 28 percent that strongly disagreed with this is the need to put in place a mechanism or tool to measure the performance of members of parliament.
“Their entitlements should be reflective of their performance rather than being paid these lucrative entitlements and benefits just for being members of parliament.
“Such a mechanism will demand quality and high performing MPs which produces positive results and construction debate in each parliament seating,” TSI said.