26 Jul 2006

Salaries of top politicians in Solomons set to double

7:57 pm on 26 July 2006

Solomon Islands politicians are to be granted 100 percent pay increases.

The new pay structure was recently approved by the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission and is due to be gazetted this week when exact figures are to be released.

The Solomon Star newspaper says the prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, is set to get an annual salary of at least 140,000 Solomon dollars, or 20,000 US dollars.

While the PM's salary doubles, ordinary members of parliament will get more than double their current income.

The opposition leader, Fred Fono, says the new salary hikes and fringe benefits will drastically reduce the government's ability to implement its widely publicised rural development policy.

He has described the salary increases and the recent acquisition of 46 new cars for ministers and permanent secretaries as extravagance.

Public servants are in line for a six-percent pay increase.