MEMBERS of the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Union (SICTU) will meet tomorrow, to discuss the proposed 10 percent salary increase for MPs this year.

A SICTU executive Tony Kagovai confirmed the meeting following the proposal by the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission (PEC) to give a $13,000 pay rise to each MP this year.

Kagovai said members to attend the meeting include: Workers Union of Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Public Employees Union, Solomon Islands Teachers Association, Solomon Islands National University, Solomon Islands Medical Association, Solomon Islnads Paramedics and Solomon Islands Nurses Association.

He said the meeting is scheduled for 12 noon at WUSI office.

The PEC proposal will see the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare awarded an extra $30,000, on top of his annual salary.

This will give the PM a new annual salary of $338.000.01 from the $307,919.30.

The current base salary of the Prime Minister is $11,843.05 per fortnight, multiplies by 26 paydays, equals to $307,919.30 for his annual salary.

Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister’s new annual salary will be $304,872.67.

Ministers, Leader of Opposition and Leader of Independent Group will get $266,123.00.

The Deputy Speaker, Chairperson of Parliamentary Caucus, Chairpersons of Parliamentary Standing Committees to get $241,166.24 and the members to get $218,231.60.

Other benefits include:

  1. meal allowance that increases from $200 to $500;
  2. education allowance increases from $10,000 to $25,000;
  3. appointment grant increase from $10,000 to $15,000;
  4. Clothing allowance (to be differed from outfit) none, with Members to get USD$3000 (SBD24,000) while PM, DPM, Ministers and Leaders to get USD$7000 (SBD$56,000).

The PEC invites MPs and beneficiaries to attend a consultation meeting on 15th February 2023 at their conference room at AJ City Mall Room 42.

The Commission is currently in the process of reviewing the Members of Parliament Entitlement Regulation.

Already, the proposal has been heavily criticised by members of the public.

Opposition Leader Mathew Wale says it is an ‘unwise and insensitive’ proposal given that the country’s economy is in recession, public servants have not had any pay increases for 3 years, nor have private sector employees.

Wale adds the 2023 budget has the largest deficit in history to be financed by borrowing.

He said with an economy in recession, these proposed increases are unjustified.

“Ordinary Solomon Islanders are struggling with just putting food on the table and such increases to MPs are divorced from the economic realities faced by Solomon Islanders,” he said.

Wale said public servants especially nurses, teachers and our police should be the ones considered for a pay rise.

Senior Opposition figure and East Are’Are MP Peter Kenilorea Jnr, in a Facebook post, described the proposal as “self-serving”.

He accused the Government of delaying the national elections scheduled for this year so that it could reward parliamentarians with tax payers funds.

“You deny the people’s right to vote by delaying their vote,” Kenilorea wrote in his post in reference to the Government.

“These rights are fundamental to our democracy and good governance. And yet you deny these rights of the very same people who put you in power – through a vote.

“This effectively extends your time in parliament.

“After you bulldozed this highly questionable constitutional amendment in parliament to deny the vote, you then collude with relevant authorities to concoct a scheme to enrich yourselves, as parliamentarians, from public funds – funds that many of our people contribute towards through their tax contributions and hard work.

“I am embarrassed to be an MP in the 11th parliament.

“But this is more than embarrassing. It is self-serving to say the least.

“You will argue that this was done under the laws of the land.

“But I say your actions have nefarious (evil or immoral) intentions.”

Kenilorea said the unjustified proposal must be rejected by all MPs.

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