The Majority Leader of Parliament, Cletus Avoka, has responded to criticisms against the approval of new salaries for the President and other members of the Executive arm of government.
He said: “These are sometimes legal and constitutional matters and that we have to appreciate the Constitution and law that we have in place.”
According to the MP for Zebilla, “Article 71 of the Constitution gives exclusive mandate to the legislature to approve of the salaries of the members of the executive and that same Article 71 gives authority to Parliament to approve of the conditions of service and the emolument of Ministers of State.”
“People have not looked at the report holistically, so they take one issue out and isolate it as salary and go to all length to discredit those who have done this recommendation. If you look at the President’s committee report, you will recall that they made provisions that when the President is on retirement he is entitled to a free house given to him by the State with all the facilities in the house and the house help, garden boy, etc,” he stated.
“If you look at the latest committee report they have cancelled that one and therefore a retiring president has no house to himself or any such facility. It’s a balancing act that the committee took into account, that the president has forgone this, he has forgone that and what not and therefore they think that this will be useful. Parliament also took that into consideration and debated at length before we arrived at those decisions. And let me state that it was a collective and consensus decision of the House to have made those approvals; it is not Minority or Majority side per se.’’
Hon. Avoka added: “Anybody who has followed and taken part in these deliberations will know that the committee [Professor Addy’s committee] did some diligent work; they took into account all the relativities in the country.
“I appreciate the statement made by the President. Parliament will reconvene after the elections on the 17th of December. And when we reconvene we will have the opportunity to take on board what the President had directed and find out whether there is justification for the review or we stand by what we have earlier said.”