Jan 31, 2013 News Comments Off on MPs get $420 monthly for telephone, entertainment and duty free allowances
…but Jagdeo gets unlimited allowances
While Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali told the National Assembly, during the last sitting, that a $5000 allocation per month to former Presidents strips them of their dignity, despite the $1.2M pension, Kaieteur News learnt that parliamentarians take home a fixed $420 per month in telephone, entertainment and duty free allowances; but transportation allowance varies.
The Minister’s agreement was put forward as he defended reasons why the Bill titled “Former Presidents (Benefits and other Facilities) Bill 2012- Bill No. 29/2012” should not be passed.
That Bill sought to repeal an Act made in 2009 that endowed unlimited benefits to all Former Presidents.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Finance, Carl Greenidge, had tabled the Bill based on his main argument that a former President should be given unlimited benefits when the state has limited resources.
For example, the 2009 law only says former Presidents are entitled to vehicles and staff, without specifying a number. The new Bill intends to make the benefits specific.
At the last sitting, Alliance For Change Member of Parliament, Moses Nagamootoo, drew a parallel line from the President’s $5000 for telephone, electricity and water to $20 for serving parliamentarians as telephone allowance.
Each parliamentarian is given $420 to cover telephone, entertainment and duty free allowance.
The breakdown is as follows: Telephone: $20; Entertainment: $250; Duty free allowance: $150.
However, each member has a verifying travel allowance depending on the distance he or she needs to travel to attend the National Assembly.
Also, members who sit on different committees receive an additional allowance. For example, a member sitting on the Public Accounts Committee, the body that scrutinizes the Auditor General’s report Ministry by Ministry gets an additional $20,000 per month as a stipend to attend weekly meetings.
However, no water or electricity allowance is allotted.
In response to the Housing Minister’s point that it is utter disrespect and disregard for former Presidents to be given just $5,000 to cover water, electricity and telephone expenses, Nagamootoo said that the dignity of ordinary Guyanese is being stolen when money is being used to fatten the already well-endowed instead of giving more to pensioners and public sector workers, such as nurses, policemen and teachers.
Even though the last parliamentary sitting saw the passing of a Bill, no indication has been given as to whether the President will assent to the Bill.
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