SIDP official logo. Photo credit: SIDP.

SIDP official logo. Photo credit: SIDP.

The Solomon Islands Democratic Party has strongly condemned the tax-free entitlements recently awarded to members of Parliament by the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission.

The Party also called on donors to review their funding policies, if the Democratic Coalition for Change Government continues to support the controversial PEC recommendation.

In a statement today, Party President Dr. Alice Pollard said the PEC’s decision to award tax-free entitlements for MPs is baseless.

She has also described the PEC’s justification to have the MPs salaries closer and in equal par with CEOs of State-Owned Enterprises as “absurd and illogical”.

Dr. Pollard also said the tax exemption awarded to MPs by the PEC only undermines the dignity of parliament.

She said MPs have cultivated a “dependency culture” on constituency funds and worst still, their acceptance of the PEC award will indefinitely cultivate further a culture of “free-riders”.

The SIDP President says this sets MPs as a separate class from the rest of the people, and removes the moral legitimacy of parliament to legislate through budgets to raise revenue and spend public funds.

Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands Democratic Party President has questioned what moral right do MPs have, through the National Budget, to allocate taxpayers funds to various government expenditures when they do not contribute through taxes.

Dr. Alice Pollard says the comments justifying the tax exemption of MPs salaries are by those who are clearly out of touch with the people.

She says the Party believes that the tax exemption sets a bad precedent and portray MPs as self-serving, especially when theParliamentary Entitlements Commission has two Members of Parliament as members of the commission.

The Party has also called on Parliament to amend the Constitution and remove any serving MP, former MP and or anyone who stands to benefit from decisions by the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission, from its membership.

SIBC News understands, proceedings to challenge the validity of MPs 2015 Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations has begun at the High Court.

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