Shift of allowance focus to individual MPs

May 25, 2024 8:38 am

Emoluments Committee Chairperson Lynda Tabuya [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

The constituency allowance for all Members of Parliament has been raised from $10,000 to $15,000 per year.

This increase aims to help MPs better serve their constituencies, according to Emoluments Committee Chairperson Lynda Tabuya.

She emphasizes the importance of empowering MPs to carry out their constituency work effectively.

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Tabuya mentioned the plan to shift this allowance from political parties to individual MPs since party funding needs are already covered in the yearly budget.

Proposed benefits for the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers include tax and duty-free vehicle purchases, a practice that was previously in effect and has now been reinstated.

Ministers and Assistant Ministers will now have access to government quarters in Suva at rates similar to those offered to civil servants, providing them with affordable temporary accommodation in the capital.

Official residences for the Speaker of Parliament and the Leader of the Opposition will be reinstated. This decision, Tabuya said was inspired by similar practices in other Commonwealth jurisdictions.

These accommodations will offer offices an official residency, making it easier for them to carry out their duties and providing suitable living arrangements.

Tabuya also mentioned changes to parliamentary allowances including adjustments to the Daily Subsistence Allowance (UNDSA) for various positions.

Notable revisions include a reduction in the UNDSA for the Prime Minister and Ministers, as well as modifications to allowances for Assistant Ministers, the Speaker of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition and MPs.

Regarding travel and committee seating allowances, Tabuya confirmed that there would be no changes to the current arrangements.

However, adjustments to the accommodation allowance were proposed to accommodate practicalities in travel routes and locations.

Medical and life insurance coverage will now be extended to all MPs.

Tabuya adds that this decision acknowledges the risks associated with parliamentary duties and extensive travel.

MPs will have a maximum coverage of $100,000 with the option to continue premium payments on life insurance policies after leaving office.