The proposed increase in Parliamentary entitlements for Members of Parliament for this year have been postponed. Chairman of the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission, Mr. Johnson Siapu says following the series of consultations held in the first quarter of the year, they then decided to postpone the entitlements to 2024. “The reasons are like this. There is the National General Election in 2024 and the Commission does not want this to become an issue from now until the elections”. Siapu said also because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current preparation for the Pacific Games in November 2023, the government revenue is not stable.
“The country continues to face serious challenges, with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted not only by the aftermath of the global pandemic and November 2021 civil unrest ad riots, but also the adverse global impacts of the Russian-Ukraine war”, says Finance Minister in his 2023 Budget Speech. Mr. Harry Kuma says the journey ahead for Solomon Islands will not be easy. He said never in the history of Solomon Islands have the country recorded massive economic contraction as witnessed since 2020. “The rebuilding of Solomon Islands economy demand massive effort from all of us. It requires better partnerships, collaboration and cooperation by all government ministries and stakeholders to effectively implement the 2023 Budget in order to realize the expected positive economic outcomes for our country”.
The Parliamentary Entitlements Commission said as advised by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, there is growth but very fragile with a view that there is no certainty in sustaining it over time. The entitlements for the MPs alone will cost Solomon Island tax payers, millions of dollars. The Commission said they will however look at the MPs salary alone because there is provision in the constitution for its effective date at any time of the year. Consultations into MP salaries will commence in May and the Commission is hopeful to have it implemented around July.
Transparency Solomon Islands, TSI say the decision to postpone the MPs entitlements is the right decision the Commission have made. Chief Executive Officer, Ruth Liloqula says in the first place as far as TSI is concerned, the raise is unjustified. “I hope that even come next year, they will forget about it”, Liloqula said. She said the Members of Parliament are already well taken care of and do not need a pay raise or an increase in entitlements. She said the Members of Parliament are already the most privileged group of people in the country.