Efforts by Okavango Member of Parliament (MP) Bagalatia Arone to have Parliament discuss and ultimately pass the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill 2017 proved futile on Friday morning due to disparities between the proposed new salaries for President Ian Khama and the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Following the “failure” by Parliament to have the Bill passed to the next stage on Thursday night due to its date of publication, Arone made a last-minute attempt to have the minister responsible, Eric Molale bring it under the “certificate of urgency”.
Under the standing orders of Parliament, a Bill can only be discussed after 30 days from the day of the first publication in the government Gazette unless the responsible minister asks for a certificate of urgency from the National Assembly Speaker.
On Friday morning, which was also the last day for the just ended Budget Session of Parliament, Arone evoked the Parliamentary Standing Orders to let the MPs have a private meeting to allow them to discuss the matter and decide on whether to squeeze in the Bill on the Friday Order Paper.
“Although there was a general consensus amongst the MPs to have Bill discussed and passed today, there was a stumbling block ÔÇô the proposed new salaries of the President and that of the Vice President had a huge disparity. This naturally meant it should be corrected before the figures are made public,” said one of the MPs shortly after Parliament adjourned on Friday morning.
The adjournment sparked a walkout by some MPs including Arone and the ruling party chief Whip Liakat Kablay which resulted in the quorum collapsing.
Sunday Standard has it that under the “questioned” National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill 2017, if passed, the President is to earn P907 595.50 per annum while Masisi’s new salary is pegged at P535 902.10.
In 2015, Khama earned P651 348 per annum while Masisi’s salary was increased to P501 216 per annum or P41 768 per month.
Meanwhile, the MPs are said to have agreed to increase their 2017 salaries by 4 percent and constituency allowance by 40 percent.
Sunday Standard is in possession of the copy of the Draft Bill which is likely to be passed during the winter session of Parliament in July which seeks to align the salaries of the MPs with that of public servants.
In 2015 when Parliament increased its salaries ordinary MPs had their portion of the national cake hiked by at least 32 percent from P201, 565.00 in 2014 to P266 460.
President P651, 348 P907, 595.50
Vice President P501, 216 P535, 902.10.
Members of Parliament
P266, 460 P285, 432.20