Allowing allowances

Last month, when, at the end of the Parliament’s Fourth Session, the National Assembly approved salary increases for MPs, I had complained that:

Parliament does not have the powers to consider or grant pay increases unilaterally. Instead, according to the Constitution, it’s the Pay Commission’s job to recommend increases in the salaries and allowances of public servants. And that includes us, politicians.

Now we hear that the Cabinet has approved allowances (equal to 45% of their basic salaries) for “ACC investigators and related professionals”. The Prime Minister had, in fact, announced that ACC employees would be given allowances, but the National Assembly neither discussed nor approved the allowances.

So we risk bypassing the Pay Commission again.

There’s no doubt that the ACC is critically important – in our fight against corruption, they operate in the front lines. And there’s no doubt that all of us must render any and all support to this crucial organization.

But let’s follow procedure. Let’s establish the Pay Commission. Let’s let them do their job. Let’s follow the law.

Article 30 of the Constitution states that:

  1. There shall be a Pay Commission, headed by a Chairperson, which shall be autonomous and shall be constituted, from time to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
  2. The Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary, the members of Parliament and Local Governments, the holders and the members of constitutional offices and all other public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom and other provisions of this Constitution.
  3. The recommendations of the Commission shall be implemented only on the approval of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and subject to such conditions and modifications as may be made by Parliament.