Parliament Divided Over Proposed Massive Pay Hikes for Timor Politicos (Ekonomi Timor Leste)

Ekonomi Timor Leste

by: Tempo Semanal

On 29 September 2009 Parliament became deadlocked over divisionsgenerated over the proposals to increase salaries for political posts such as:
1) President of the Republic
2) Prime Minister
3) President of the National Parliament
4) Ministers 5) Secretaries of State
5) Secretaries of Parliamentary Committees
6) Presidents and Vice Presidents of Parliamentary Special Commissions
7) Presidents and Vice Presidents of Political Party benches in Parliament
Some Member of Parliament increases more than 600% from $450/month to up to $3,250/month – plus @2,437.50 bonus. Total minimum Member of Parliament income $5,687.50/month. (equivalent to 60 months salary, or 5 years salary for persons on minimum wage $95/month).
The salary for President of the National Parliament will increase 300% from $1,000/month to $4,000/month – plus monthly bonus increase 700% from $500/month to $4,000.00. As a result Fernando Lasama will be earning $8,000/month.
Deputy Speakers and Leaders of each bench will receive $3,500/month – plus bonus $2,800/month, for a total of $6,300/month.
Ordinary Members of Parliament monthly salary will increase to $3,250/ month – plus a bonus of $1,950 for a total of $5,200/month.
The Secretary for each Commission [Committee] and Leaders of sub- Commissions each receive $3,250/month – plus a monthly bonus of $2,112.50/month for a total of $5,362.50/month.
The Prime Minister will receive $8,000/month.
The two Deputy Prime Ministers will receive monthly salaries of $3,500, plus a bonus of $2,800/month for a total of $6,300/month.
Ministers will receive $3,200/month, plus a bonus of $2,437.50/month for a total of $5,687.50/month.
Deputy Ministers and Secretaries of State will receive $3,000/month, plus a bonus of $2,100, for a total of $5,100/month.
The President of the Republic every month will receive $10,000.
Timor-Leste is the poorest country in the region and one of the poorest in the world.
Most of its budget is derived from Oil and Gas revenue, and income tax only generated $40 million in this year.
Sustainability of these proposed pay increases is in serious doubt even if passed.
Mr. Manuel Tilman, Member of Parliament is determined to defend these increases, stating that the Oil Fund can pay the increases.
The Timorese Members of Parliament are seeking to benefit from their political positions while most Timorese in the rual areas still do have adequate roads, water supply, electricity and other basic needs.
While State expenditure will pay for these salary increases most Timorese MPs remain absent from work much of the time on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the majority only attend in a tardy fashion.
“I think that Parliament has to serve the peoplebut they always do what they want for themselves first,” said Fransisco Soares, a university student. “They have no morals,” and he continued to challenge the Members of Parliament. “They should be ashamed of themselves by increasing their own salaries..

Last year University Students protested over the Parlaimentary purchase of 65 vehicles for Members of Parliament, these proposed salary increases are approximately 5,000% more expensive than the new
vehicles.

NB: Viva Timor Leste Terkini 2009

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