It is highly unethical for the government to issue a decree prescribing ministerial and parliamentary pays just three days before the convening of Parliament , says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
The Parliamentary Remunerations Decree 29 of 2014 was promulgated on Friday, 3 October with Parliament scheduled to sit on Monday 6th October.
“It should have been left to be decided by the elected Parliament in a transparent manner as provided for in the imposed 2013 constitution of the regime. Section 80 of the constitution states that ministerial and parliamentary pays are to be set by a written law,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“Seeing that a parliament was in place by 3 0ctober, although it was yet to convene, it would have been ethical for government to let parliament deal with the matter,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Also, by convention ministerial and parliamentary pays are determined by an independent committee. In the interest of impartiality and transparency this practice should have been continued rather than the government setting its own pay levels.
The decision to bypass parliament seems to have been taken to avoid a debate on the issue of ministerial pays. This would, undoubtedly, have caused great embarrassment to the government in light of the reported million dollar pay packages enjoyed by the Prime Minister and the Attorney General between April 2010 and September 2013 – an issue that remains unsettled because of their refusal to submit to demands to produce audited accounts of their pay packages between those dates.
Ironically, the decree itself provides for parliament to appoint a committee to render advice on the determination of parliamentary remuneration. Instead the beneficiaries decided to cut the deal to suit themselves.
It would have been appropriate for ministers to set an example to the rest of the nation by reverting to parliamentary pays and allowances applicable pre-2006 coup while the committee did its work in a transparent manner and made a report with appropriate recommendations for the consideration of parliament