ALL Members of Parliament are now entitled to life pensions under latest awards approved by the Parliament Entitlements Commission.
Previously, those who served for only a term in parliament are not entitled to pension.
But under a new award the commission approved recently, a MP who served a term is entitled to a life pension of 35% of the base salary of current MPs.
With current base annual salary of an ordinary MP standing at $112,320, a MP who served a term would be entitled to $39,312 a year in pension.
This would be paid to them on fortnightly basis.
The rates increase for MPs who’ve served more terms.
Here’s how the awards stand:
– Up to 4 years 35%
– Up to 8 years 45%
– Up to 12 years 55%
– Up to 16 years 65%
– Up to 20 years 75%
– Up to 24 years 85%
– Above 24 years 95%
Previously, the pension awards were:
· Up to 8 years 30%
· Up to 16 years 40%
· Up to 20 years 50%
· Up to 24 years 75%
· Above 24 years 85%
Despite heavy criticisms of the increases on social media, chairman of Parliament Entitlements Commission (PAC) Johnson Siapu says it is justifiable.
Mr Siapu said the submission to include new MPs into the pension entitlements were made to the commission two years ago by the last government caucus.
“This is made on the basis that the job of an MP is not an easy one and that MPs are non-contributors to the National Provident Fund (NPF),” Mr Siapu said.
He added awards and increases to MPs entitlements go along with increases in public service entitlement as spelt out in the Constitution.
“Section 69A of the Constitution tells us about the power vested upon the PEC to make amendments to these entitlements,” Mr Siapu explained.
“Section 69B further clarifies the authority vested upon PEC to make amendment by taking into account the situation stated in the constitution,” he added.
He said the increase in pension entitlements of MPs should take place simultaneously with the increase in public service salaries, which occurred in April last year.
However, Mr Siapu said while public servants received a 3.5% increase last April and a further 4% rise in their entitlements this April (2015), MPs entitlements were not included then.
“So we increase their pension entitlement this year to go along with the public service salary increase as stipulated in the Constitution,” Mr Siapu said.
Under previous awards, PAC approved a $400,000 terminal grant for MPs to receive when they leave parliament.
By AATAI JOHN