NGO Coalition condemns salary increase for MPs

May 25, 2024 12:23 pm

[Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights has described the increase in salaries of Members of Parliament as shameful.

According to NGOCHR, majority of Fijians do not agree with the move to increase salaries and allowances of MP’s.

The NGOCHR believes that a special committee made up of parliamentarians should not decide on the salaries and benefits of parliamentarians.

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This is the role of an independent committee or body that will act independently of both the Parliament and the Government.

The Coalition is also concerned about how the Parliament handled this motion.

When the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee Report was tabled in Parliament this week, there was an agreement for the report to be debated at a later date.

The NGOCHR has questioned where the same level of urgency is for issues impacting Fiji such as poverty, violence against women and girls, drug use, high rates of HIV cases, food insecurity, climate change and unfair wages for workers.

The NGOCHR reminds the Coalition Government of Fiji’s high national debt and the high incidence of poverty, where 400,000 Fijians are living below the poverty line.

It highlights poor education outcomes for young people, poor quality healthcare services and compensation for public health nurses and doctors.

It also points out crumbling water infrastructure where Fijian families continue to experience water disruptions, and the urgent need to pay our workers a wage to cope with the increasing costs of living and ensure dignity in the workplace.

The NGOCHR strongly believes that as active citizens of a democracy, Fijians must hold our leaders accountable.

The NGOCHR states that just because we voted for change does not mean we should blindly support our leaders.

NGOCHR stresses that we must call out our leaders when we feel they are drifting from prioritizing real issues.

It adds that MPs are in their positions temporarily and could easily be replaced at the next general elections; it is the welfare of the people that should guide their decision-making.