The government may have recommended a slashed raise in the salary of the Members of Parliament, but MPs are among the group that benefited the most from the governmet’s proposed revision.
MPs could take home an additional amount of at least Nu 16,289 a month in pay and allowances. This is excluding the raise in annual discretionary allowance of Nu 50,000.
The government recommended a revised basic pay of Nu 73,845 a month from the existing of Nu 65,930. The gross pay including allowances could be more than Nu 117,998 a month.
“Recognising the important role played by the MPs in representing their constituencies, the government has considered revision of the drivers allowance, fuel and maintenance and discretionary allowance,” the finance minister said at the National Assembly.
The government has endorsed the recommendations of the pay commission to revise the driver’s allowance from Nu 6,000 a month to Nu 10,000 and to revise the existing fuel and maintenance allowance of Nu 7,000 a month to Nu 10,000.
MPs will also be entitled to a vehicle purchase quota of Nu 1 million and a vehicle quota exempted from sales tax and customs duty of a vehicle more than 3,000CC.
The government recommended an option for MPs to take Nu 1.5 million instead of the vehicle quota. The annual discretionary allowance is recommended to be hiked to Nu 150,000, from Nu 100,000.
A member of parliament is paid a house rent allowance of 30 percent of the basic pay (Nu 19,779) , monthly telephone charges of Nu 2,000, a monthly driver’s allowance and fuel allowance.
The MPs’ pay is pegged at par with that of the government secretary. However, the annual increment for the two are different in the bill.
The MPs’ annual increment is less than two percent of the basic pay at Nu 1,475 while the government secretary’s increment is at two percent or Nu 1,480, a difference of Nu 5. The maximum salary of the MPs is Nu 81,220, short of Nu 25 compared to that of the government secretary.
The government has recommended removing the lump sum mobile allowance of Nu 5,000.
The revised daily allowance rates for the MPs are actual lodging in one room (maximum ceiling Nu 3,000) plus Nu 800 or lump sum DA of Nu 1,500 to actual lodging in one room (maximum ceiling Nu 3,000) plus Nu 1,000 or lump sum DA of Nu 2,000.
If the fourth Pay Commission’s recommendations was endorsed, the gross salary of an MP could have touched about Nu 131,000, more than the Cabinet Ministers’ current salary. The proposed monthly basic salary was Nu 75,165, an increase from Nu 65,930 (existing). Accordingly, the total allowances, which include allowances for house rent, fuel and communication roughly amounts to Nu 56,500.
The salary of MPs was fixed at Nu 30,000 a month until December 2008. This was increased by 20 percent in January 2009. The pay scales for MPs were further revised to Nu 50,445-1,010-55,495 in January 2011 and made at par with the pay scales of government secretaries together with lump sum salary allowances of Nu 5,045.
In 2014, the pay of MPs was increased by 21 percent from the existing minimum of Nu 50,455 to Nu 65,930 excluding the 30 percent house rent allowance.
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said, “As many perceive, the revision is not intended to “even out” the pay and entitlements of different levels. Instead, we are trying to ensure that our public servants are compensated and incentivised for their responsibilities, and also to ascertain an income that matches economic reality of the country.”