LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has called on the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission (PEC) to refrain from giving further increases in entitlements to Members of Parliament (MPs).
Hon Wale made this call following media reports that PEC is proposing increases in salaries and other parliamentary entitlements to be effective from April 1 this year (2023).
In a statement today, the Opposition Leader said it is an ‘unwise and insensitive’ proposal given that the country’s economy is in recession, public servants have not had any pay increases for 3 years, nor have private sector employees.
Hon Wale adds the 2023 budget has the largest deficit in history to be financed by borrowing.
He said with an economy in recession, these proposed increases are unjustified.
“Ordinary Solomon Islanders are struggling with just putting food on the table and such increases to MPs are divorced from the economic realities faced by Solomon Islanders,” he said.
Hon Wale said public servants especially nurses, teachers and our police should be the ones considered to be given pay rise.
The Opposition Leader said this is certainly news that will only cause mixed reactions and a very bad omen to start the year 2023.
He said Solomon Islanders are heavily taxed and this is unfair for citizens of this country.
“Why should we (MPs) be benefiting from increase in salaries and entitlements our health sectors are ailing, our roads are in bad state, our economy in recession, our people are struggling each day to put food on their table. This is insensitive to say the least,” he said.
Hon Wale has called on the PEC to review the proposal and renounce any decision to increase MPs salaries and other parliamentary entitlements.
He said Solomon Islanders must speak out against this proposal.