Public confidence at stake

June 16, 2024 4:32 pm

The 2023 Fiscal Review Committee has recommended that the government reassess the compensation of Members of Parliament through a comprehensive public consultation and an independent evaluation process.

The Committee highlighted this in a report submitted to Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad following a request for the view of the Committee on key priorities for the 2024–2025 National Budget and the coming fiscal year.

Committee Chair Richard Naidu outlined that citizens will not support government initiatives or align their energies with them, whether as investors, volunteers, public servants, or even taxpayers, if they do not believe that the government is working effectively and productively in the nation’s interest.

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He states that the Committee believes there is a widespread public perception that the government is not operating at its full potential or efficiently.

He adds that the recent saga over parliamentary pay rises, which the Prime Minister himself acknowledges was poorly managed, was another dent in public confidence.

Naidu says the Committee views that issues such as frequent foreign travel by government ministers, while not fiscally insignificant, have an outsized impact on public perceptions of the productivity and accountability of the government.

It adds that conversely, if the government could show improvements in discipline in these politically sensitive areas, it could have a significant positive economic impact.

The Committee encourages the government to make serious and demonstrable commitments to reduce expenditure on government ministers’ travel and perquisites.