Friday, January 29, 2010

Pensions better used by villagers - Thursday, January 28, 2010

THE Prime Minister's office says savings generated by stopping pension payments to former parliamentarians, civil servants, and former ministers would be better utilised by villagers in the islands.

The permanent secretary in the PM's office, Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, made the comment while hinting some former parliamentarians would also have their pensions stopped.

The State has enforced the Regulation of Pensions and Retirement Allowances Decree 2010 which states government pensioners who promoted or incited feelings of ill-will and hostility and undermined the current administration would soon stop receiving payments.

Former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka had his pension payment stopped and official vehicle taken.

The Fiji Labour Party, meanwhile, confirmed none of their former ministers received letters notifying them of a pension cease.

Under the decree, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has the authority to cease the allowance, salary, pension and any other benefits under the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Decree 1989, the Prime Minister's Pensions Act 1994, the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act (Cap.16) and the Pensions Act 1983.

According to the 2010 Budget estimates, total payout on pensions, gratuities and compassionate payments total $37.62million.This includes a $143,000 pension payout for war pensioners and a $3m allocation for Lebanon pensioners (Fiji Military Forces).

Gratuity payments to contracted officers would total $855,000. The pension payments include payments to widows and orphans of deceased public officers.

Pension payments for former presidents and prime ministers were increased to $500,000 from $220,000.

The 2010 Budget also had an allocation of $2.1m for former MPs.

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