by Anish Chand
A law from 1989 will be amended by Parliament in the budget session to allow for Members of Parliament to receive retirement allowances after serving for 3 years 6 months.
Under 1989 law. MP’s qualify for retirement allowances after they have been in office for four years.
A bill that will be introduced in Parliament next week states that the change in law is necessary to align it with provisions in the 2013 Fiji Constitution.
“The term of Parliament under section 58 of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji is 4 years from the date of its first meeting after a general election of members of Parliament (‘first meeting’). However, the President may, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, dissolve Parliament by proclamation, after a lapse of 3 years and 6 months from the first meeting. The requirement to have an aggregate period of reckonable service that is not less than 4 years is inconsistent with section 58 of the Constitution where Parliament can be dissolved as early as 3 years and 6 months from the first meeting,” reads Bill Number 24 of 2018.
The Bill outlines the following persons who shall be eligible to receive retirement allowances: a Member of Parliament, Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, a Minister, an Assistant Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Government in Parliament, the Opposition Whip and the Government Whip.
Those MP’s or their dependents who had served in office for more than four years under any other previous Fiji Constitution will also continue to receive the retirement allowances.
They are listed in the Bill as a member of the House of Representatives, a member of the Senate, the Deputy Prime Minister, a Minister of State, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the Vice-President of the Senate, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of Government Business and an Advisor on the President’s Council of Advisors.
The Bill states that those who served in the Council of Ministers of the Fiji Military government do not qualify for the retirement allowance.