Vanuatu MPs want review of Privileges

MP Chani

PORT MORESBY, 12 OCTOBER 2018 (VANUATU DAILY POST) – Vanuatu Parliamentary Standing Committee on Privileges, Immunities, Entitlements and Parliamentary Rights will meet next week to review the Privileges each Member of Parliament (MP) is entitled to.

This has been confirmed by a member of the Committee, MP Francois Chani.

MP Chani told Daily Post the MPs have expressed their views on some of the privileges which they wished to see reviewed.

The Privileges that the Parliamentary Standing Committee will review include: Parliamentary Secretary Allowances, Domestic and Overseas Traveling Allowances, Immunities of the Members of Parliament, Salaries of Ministers, Diplomatic Passport for Members of Parliament and Spouses, Comprehensive Medical Insurance for Members of Parliament, Parliament Facilities, Travelling in Business Class, Sitting Allowance for Member of Parliament-Clock in Machines, Review of Procedures of Constitution Allocation, Review Gratuity to 25% and Review Allocation to Vt4 million (US$34,836).

MP Chani pointed out that the review of the Privileges of MPs does not necessarily mean that there will be an extra budget.

“If the committee recommends an increase in a particular privilege, it will mean virement within the current budget, an extra budget is not required,” MP Chani said.

“In other privileges such as the passport, currently the MPs travel overseas using the official blue passports but they feel that they should be using diplomatic passports. After all they are MPs directly representing the people of Vanuatu.”

He added: “As for allowances, the Committee will have to carefully consider differences between allowances and privileges receive by MPs, Parliamentary Secretaries and State Ministers”.

Pointing to the agenda listed for the meeting next week, MP Chani said: “The Standing Committee will critically look at the MPs’ attendance in Parliament sittings. It will also look at the introduction of clock-in machines. If endorsed, MPs will have to sign in and sign out, in order for them to receive allowances in line with the time they actually attend meetings”.

The meeting was initially scheduled to take place early this week.

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