Report: State Burdened by Retirement Allowances for Former Presidents, Parliament Members, and Judges

Under the Parliamentary Privileges and Powers Act (Act no: 5/2013), MPs completing one term are entitled to a retirement allowance of 30% of their salary, increasing to 45% for those completing two terms. With the current monthly salary for MP’s set at MVR 18,000, this allowance adds a significant financial burden to the state. 

Additionally, under the new constitution, MPs receive further benefits such as official passports and medical insurance packages, exacerbating the strain on state finances as the number of eligible members increases every five years.

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Increasing Financial Strain on the State

The recent parliamentary election highlights this issue, with 76 retiring members from the current parliament set to join the list of allowance recipients.

Furthermore, the incoming parliament introduces 93 new members, foreshadowing a continued expansion of this list in the future. This prompts questions regarding the sustainability of such allowances in light of the state’s existing revenue.

Public Outcry and Political Response

Public discontent regarding these allowances has been persistent, resurfacing with each new parliament. Calls to reduce or standardise these benefits have intensified, but the political will to enact such changes remains uncertain, particularly with a government holding a supermajority in parliament.

Efforts to increase MPs’ salaries have also faced opposition from the public, resulting in the exclusion of MPs, the President, and Vice President from proposed salary increments. However, concerns persist regarding the disparity between these allowances and those of other sectors, prompting calls for a more equitable distribution of retirement benefits.

While some argue for allowances commensurate with service, others contend that current levels are disproportionate to the country’s economic realities. Social media discussions highlight the disconcerting trend of retirees earning more than many working individuals, fuelling perceptions of injustice.

Furthermore, discrepancies in benefits across occupations, particularly in housing and healthcare, compound these grievances. Complaints extend to former presidents, whose allowances are seen as excessive and lacking transparency, with calls for equal treatment among former officeholders.

Calls for Reform

Critics decry the perceived exploitation of state resources by retired officials, characterising it as a betrayal of public trust. The provision of secondary employment opportunities alongside generous benefits only amplifies these concerns, underscoring the need for reform to uphold principles of fairness and accountability.

The issue of retirement allowances for former presidents, members, and judges continues to provoke public scrutiny and debate. While serving the country warrants recognition, the current system faces widespread criticism for its perceived inequities and financial strain on the state. Addressing these concerns is imperative to restore confidence in the integrity of governance and ensure the responsible stewardship of public resources.

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