SO MUCH DOES AN MP GET PAID EVERY FORTNIGHT? – Part 2
This is part two of four part series of articles providing insight into just how much PNG Members of Parliament are paid every fortnight including the special privileges and benefits that come with the office they occupy.
In part 1 I revealed that ordinary members of Parliament’s fortnight take home pay is over K12,000 where over 70% our of our gross wages are exempt from tax (tax free) while every other citizen wages are subject to tax.
In Part 2 I will explain how much the Prime Minister, Speaker, Opposition Leader including other key Members in Parliament get paid including the special allowances that come with their pay.
Take-home pay every fortnight:
Prime Minister (1) K31,000
Speaker of Parliament (1) K24,000
Deputy Prime Minister (1) K24,000
Opposition Leader (1) K24,000
Minister of State (31) K21,000
Deputy Speaker (1) K18,000
Deputy Opposition (1) K18,000
Governor (20) K17,000
Vice-Minister (12) K16,500
Chairman of Parli’ Committee K16,500
Shadow Minister (12) K14,000
Government/Opposition Whip K14,000
Member of Parliament K12,700
Please note that these amounts have been rounded to the nearest K1,000 and may vary slightly depending on the tax rebates claimed for each members dependents.
Prime Minister actual base salary is K13,000 per fortnight less K5,000 in taxes and K2,000 deducted for retirement benefit contribution equals net wage of K6,000 however after adding K24,000 tax free allowances his take home fortnight pay ends up being K31,000.
This works out to an annual net salary of K806,000 and K4 million over their 5 year term.
What is retirement benefit fund?
Each member is required to contribute 15% of his base salary to his own retirement benefit fund. The State (tax payer) will also contribute a further percentage. It will make up the Member’s pension (retirement) fund should they lose their seat or retire. How much a member receives as a pension is based on how many terms they have served. An issue I will explain in future articles.
Ministers of State fort night base salary is K8,850 less K3,200 tax and K1,330 retirement fund equals net salary of K4,320 add K16,600 in tax free allowance and their fortnight take home pay actually comes to K21,000.
This works out to an annual take home salary of K546,000 and K2.7 million over their 5 year term.
I explained in part 1 that every member receives cash allowances however the higher office holders receive additional allowances. For example a Minister of State would receive the following allowances every fortnight.
Domestic Services K200
Electoral Allowance K3,270
Electoral Vehicle K3,082
Electoral Vehicle Operating Costs K475
Personal Vehicle Allowance K2,856
Personal Vehicle Operating Costs K452
Support Vehicle K714
Support Vehicle Costs. K342
Total Tax Free Fortnight Allowances K16,577.
Other benefits received by Members of Parliament but not paid directly to them include;
Comprehensive Medical & Health Insurance
Vice-Ministers fort-night base salary is K4,856 less K1,602 tax and retirement benefit fund contribution of K730 leaving a net salary of K2,524, add K14,000 in tax free allowances and their net take home pay amounts to K16,500.
What is a Vice-Minister?
In 1994 Parliament passed a Vice Minister Act. Legislation (laws) providing for the establishment of 12 Vice Minister appointments by the Prime Minister. They are members of Parliament appointed to assist a Minister of State – like a deputy minister. The Act states that their function is to carryout ceremonial duties or to be a supportive spokesman in Parliament on the subject matter of the portfolio of the Minister or Ministers whom they are appointed to assist.
Parliament meets the cost of airfares for Members to travel to Port Moresby to attend parliament sitting. They are required to meet their own accommodation from the accommodation allowance received. They do not receive a sitting allowance but a one off K5,000 settling in allowance after being elected.
Prime Minister, Deputy PM, Opposition Leader, Minister of State and Governor are entitled to US$500.00 (K1,600) a day travel allowance plus costs of accommodation, meals, transport. All other Members are entitled to $400 or K1,200 a day these are paid in addition to the fortnight wages.
For example if a Minister traveled overseas for ten days he would receive K16,000 cash in travel allowance when he returned he would still earn the K21,000 for the fortnight.
They are also entitled overseas clothing allowance – for summer clothing $600 (K1,800) and winter $1200 (K3,600). Summer clothing allowance is for every 2.5 years and the winter is off allowance for 5 years.
On Thursday National published details of my article on their front page of their paper. The article quoting me saying “I receive K12,756 a fortnight.” I never actually stated I receive K12,000 a fortnight. I’m a shadow Minister and therefore my actual fortnight wage is K14,000.
On Friday the paper ran a further article on the issue quoting the Clerk of Parliament saying he gets more than I do and thus he feels for me.
The reason behind my decision to expose just how much Members of Parliament earn each fortnight wasn’t to say I felt cheated for being paid less than other members of parliament but to make the point we are over paid and certainly under taxed at the expense of the rest of Papua New Guineas who struggle to survive, put their kids in school even meet basic medical costs.
Our pay comes directly from them not because of our high qualification and measure of our performance but because they set up the system to make is possible.
Members of Parliament don’t answer to anyone. We have a five year guaranteed job security, go to work when we want to and only need attend parliament sittings 63 days in year. Even then O’Neill Government tried to reduce it to just 40 days. One can imagine being paid K21,000 every fortnight and only having to go work (parliament) 40 days in year. – unlike everyone else who are subject to tax and paid according to their performance knowing they could be sacked anytime.
In 2017 over 30,000 grade 12 students will complete their secondly education with little or no job prospects. Several thousand more graduating from tertiary students will face the same issue.
In 2016 Nasfund received K457 million in contributions from its members but it also paid out K455 million the majority of which accounted for members who had lost their jobs and forced to draw down on their superannuation. This amount is expected increase in 2017 as the economy continues to flat line and companies continue to lay of its workers.
The outrageous fact is that the poor state of our economy is a direct result of bad decisions made by politicians – who will suffer little if any all while earning million kina wages over the next five years.
In part 3 of this article I will explain how wages paid to Members of Parliament are a tool used by Prime Minister to cement his position in office. I will also explain that a member’s pay is nothing to what they steal and double dip from DSIP and Department budgets every year.
Lastly we will compare what Members of Parliament receive in PNG versus what Australian Parliamentarians earn – A country whose economy is one of the strongest in the world, earning 1,000 Billion kina in revenue every year compared to PNG’s 10 Billion kina and yet our Members get paid more than they do.
picture: smiling faces of members recently appointed to Minister and Vice Minister portfolios and fortnight pay that come with.
source: Bryan Kramer – Facebook Wall.