Fiji MPs vote for salary increases as public faces economic hardships

Fiji’s parliament has approved the salary increases for the President, Speaker, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, and MPs.

While speaking during the debate, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad opposed the motion to increase the salaries.

Fiji Village reports 40 MPs voted for the salary changes, seven against and five abstained.

Biman Prasad

Although many calls were made to reconsider the proposed increase based on the economic hardship faced by many Fijians, the debate and vote went ahead.

The approval will see salary increases of over 130 percent for Fiji’s Members of Parliament, as well as sharp pay rises for the prime minister (22 percent) and the president (42 percent).

An ordinary MP’s salary will rise from FJ50,000 to FJ$100,000, the President’s salary will increase from FJ$130,000 (non-taxable) to FJ$185,000, and the Prime Ministers salary will increase from FJ$320,000 to $328,750.

Salary increase shameful

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights in Fiji told Fiji Village it watched the passing of the motion that guarantees shameful salary and benefit increases for the President, Speaker, Ministers, Assistant Ministers and MPs.

It reminded the Coalition government of the country’s high national debt, high incidents of poverty where 400,000 Fijians are living below the poverty line, poor education outcomes for young people, poor quality healthcare services and compensation for public health nurses and doctors, and crumbling water infrastructure.

It said families continue to experience water disruptions and an urgent need to pay our workers a wage to cope with increasing costs of living and ensure dignity in the workplace.

Sitiveni Rabuka at Lowy Institute.

The NGOs say a sad example is media reports this week of nurses buying syringes and needles for patients at public hospitals and nurses and security guards carrying women in labour down the stairs as the lift is not working at CWM Hospital.

Earlier in the week, before the recommendation was debated and voted on, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka had played down criticism about the special parliamentary committee recommending significant hikes in the salaries, allowances and benefits of Members of Parliament.

– Fiji Village RNZ Pacific

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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