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Massive Pay for Interim Regime Ministers

Issue No: 127; 18 October 2000

A government report reveals that the interim regime ministers are receiving significantly higher salaries than the Peoples Coalition Government Ministers were.

Reports in today's newspapers show the comparative salaries as follows:

Interim regime Peoples Coalition Difference

Prime Minister $84,096 $60,000 24,096 (40%)
Deputy PM $69,101 $45,000 24101 (54%)
Attorney General $66,102 $42,102 24,000 (57%)
Ministers $64,103 $40,000 24,103 (60%)
Assistant Min. $44,610 $20,500 24,110 (118%)

The interim regime salaries are after a paycut of 12.5% which the regime decreed for all civil servants and ministers. The figures do not include allowances which are the same for both sets of ministers. In addition to the ministerial salaries, the Peoples Coalition members received the standard Member of Parliament salary of $18,000 for their responsibility to their constituencies. The interim regime ministers do not receive any parliamentary salary.

The regime has also appointed a committee, headed by businessman Iqbal Jannif, to review the ministerial salaries.

The Public Service Commission has also fixed a salary of $65,700 for the Chairman of the Qarase Constitution Commission and $58,000 for the other members, in addition to $10,800 housing allowance, free telephones, transportation and allowances for each member. The total package for the 12 Commissioners comes to $1.675m.

END

Regime Can't Pay For Hospital Electricity

Issue No: 129; 18 October 2000

The Public Works Department ordered yesterday that its staff in Taveuni and Nabouwalu shut down the power plants in the two areas because it can not pay for the running of the plants. The shut down would mean that there is no electricity at the Taveuni and Nabouwalu government hospitals and other government offices, police station and army barracks. The two hospitals have standby generators but these need to be paid for by the hospitals if they have to operate them.

A report in today's Fiji Times states that the PWD issued the directive after "failed attempts to obtain funds from the Finance Ministry".

The editorial of the newspaper today chastised the regime for the inability to find funds to keep the generators going, saying that the move "will take medical services at Nabouwalu in Bua and Waiyevo on Taveuni back to dark ages". Referring to the massive salaries which the interim ministers are getting, the paper further stated: "How can Mr. Qarase justify Cabinet's ministerial perks at the expense of the people who pay for them?"

Some high chiefs from Taveuni, including SVT member Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, had actively participated and supported the terrorist take-over of the Parliament. The Peoples Coalition Member of Parliament representing Taveuni, and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Giyanendra Prasad said: "The coup architects are now paying the price of their own deeds by the unleashing of unprecedented levels of suffering on the people of the country".

END

18 October 2000


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