‘$20 million tax-free for MPs’
By ANDREW FANASIA
THE Members of Parliament (MP) will walk away with their untaxed $400,000 each terminal grant when the 10th Parliament comes to its natural death in few weeks.
Minister for Finance and Treasury, Manasseh Sogavare told Parliament when he moved the 2018 Supplementary Appropriation Bill (No.2) 2018 this week.
“$20 million additional funding to cater for the MPs terminal grant as required under the Parliamentary Entitlement Regulation (PER) and to be revised under the term for National Parliament,” Mr Sogavare told parliament.
This paper understands that this $400,000 will be tax free.
This is a slap on the face of every ordinary Solomon Islands citizen who have been tirelessly serving the country and businesses that have been struggling to grow despite the high tax they have to pay to the government, a senior citizen of this country said after learning about the news.
Just recently the public transport providers went on strike for a day in response to the newly imposed tax increase by the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) within the Ministry of Finance & Treasury on all taxis and buses operating in the country.
Earlier on, the Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) has urged the national government to tax the $20 million terminal grant payout for Members of Parliament.
TSI said that it is deeply concerned on such payout because it will forego government’s revenue worth millions according to the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) calculation.
TSI said that this is not fair whilst Solomon Islanders can hardly cope from pay week-to-pay week, struggling to make ends meet daily of the deductions made to their pay.
“While citizens are struggling to put food on the table our MPs’ allowances, salary and entitlement is totally tax-free,” TSI said in a statement.
However Mr Sogavare in one of his previous comment in the parliament said that the terminal grant is a legal entitlement for the MPs’.
And he would not want to waste his time to listen to what groups like TSI and other Civil Society Organisations disposed in the media or public.