The Parliamentary Entitlements Commission (PEC) has defended its decision to award Members of Parliament increases in salaries and pay as you earn tax exemptions saying this was to ensure their salaries are competitive.
Members of Parliament have been exempted from paying salary taxes as of April 1st this year under recent changes to Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations.
They will also get $400,000 in terminal grants, $500,000 in discretionary funds and increases in salaries by four per cent from this April and onwards.
These awards have caused public outrage amongst taxpayers and widespread debate on social media.
But explaining the salary hikes for MPs and their tax free benefits, Chairman to the Commission Johnson Siapu said a research done by the PEC Secretariat reveals MPs salaries are too low, compared to CEOs of some state-owned enterprises.
“We’ve found out that their salaries have ranged from $250,000 to around $380 to $400,000 per annum. Even if these CEOs were taxed of their salaries they will still be well above the ordinary members of parliament and also the Prime Minister who holds the highest portion of the salary of the members of parliament.”
The research focused on CEO salaries for Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, Solomon Islands Water Authority, Solomon Islands Ports Authority and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands in 2013 and 2014.