As parliamentarians approved a Bill to increase their salaries and allowances, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi said there is also consideration to introduce cost of living allowance for former Members of Parliament (MPs).
On Wednesday, Molefhi tabled the National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) Amendment Bill, 2019 that proposed an adjustment of MPs’ salaries by four percent, another 11% to delink their salaries from the Public Service structure, and adjusting their constituency and fixed allowances by 50% and 10% respectively.
The Bill also proposed an increase of sitting allowance for MPs to P450 daily, provide a sitting allowance for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker different from other Members at P600 and P500 respectively and increase the allowance of Chairpersons of Committees to P500 per day.
On top of this, Molefhi said there has been realisation that MPs retire into poverty. He said there is consideration to introduce allowances for former MPs to ensure that dignity is protected even after leaving the House.
He stated that he intends to present a Bill during the winter Parliament session seeking to introduce cost of living allowance for former MPs. The Bill, he said, will propose a 20% allowance of MPs’ current salary.
“The Bill will propose that former MPs be paid 20% of MPs salaries as cost of living allowance. The Bill will come during the winter Parliament session. This is another initiative of improving conditions of service of the members and when they are no longer in the House,” he said. He said Parliament could set up a commission to look into the conditions of former MPs in comparison to other countries.
Molefhi also indicated that the plan to establish an Independent Parliamentary Services Commission, which would be responsible to review salaries and conditions of service of MPs, is in the pipeline.
Prior to Molefhi’s remarks, MP for Francistown West Ignatius Moswaane had said MPs should be given P3.5 million at the end of their terms because it costs them personal resources during election year.
“It costs a constituency between P1 million and P1.5 million to bring an MP to Parliament, but when one is paid his gratuity, it is not enough to sustain that person,” he said.
Selebi-Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse also said MPs should not be shy when they talk about the conditions of service of politicians.
He said MPs suffer prejudice from commercial banks because they are categorised as politically exposed and are subjected to stringent scrutiny before being given loans.
Keorapetse said in other countries, there is a guarantee by the state for MPs when they get loans from commercial banks. Although, he appreciated that former MPs would also receive allowances once a law has been enacted to that effect, he said the allowance should be 75% of the salary similar to other pensioners.