Opposition MP Jone Usamate. [Source: Parliament of Fiji/ Facebook]
Opposition MPs think the government made an error by putting money into MPs’ accounts without the Parliament’s approval.
Jone Usamate stated that the government is discussing something not specified in the current laws and wants to alter them.
Usamate made these remarks when Government leader in Parliament, Lynda Tabuya, proposed a motion for Parliament to approve an amendment to Part B of the Schedule to the Parliamentary Remunerations Act 2014 regarding the Parliamentary Duty Allowance.
Usamate alleges that money is being deposited into accounts even before the change is officially made, which he considers illegal.
“Admit that you made the mistake. Stop mudding the waters. Focus on the issue. The very fact that this motion has come shows that a mistake has been made. That is the point.”
Government leader in Parliament, Lynda Tabuya.
Tabuya says it’s a decision of parliament, and in order to regularize the issue, it is brought by motion in the House.
“They’re going on as if this is an increase in any amount. They’re saying the people are suffering with 15% VAT. We have been receiving the same amount for the last two terms, $15,000.”
Tabuya explains they are creating a “parliamentary duty allowance” to prevent accusations of ministers using government funds when they spend in their constituencies.
She also mentions that $10,000 will now be directly paid into the personal bank accounts of individual party members in Parliament, rather than the party’s accounts.
This motion has been accepted by Parliament.