Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Presidential Salary and Pension
The hottest topics in the Majlis these days appear to be the salaries and benefits for the president and vice-president and the pension and other benefits for former presidents. Two separate bills are on the table, one from the ruling MDP on the emoluments of incumbents and another from the opposition DRP on those for ex-presidents. As such this may be the right time to put forward some questions for discussion.
1. Should the salary of a president be linked to the GDP per capita?
The current GDP per capita per year is about rf 38,500 per year and the salary of a president is about rf 1,200,000 per year. Thus the ratio is about 1:30. Should this ratio be kept at this level or increased to 1:50 or perhaps 1:100? Using the latter ratio the presidential salary would be rf 3,850,000 per year (320,000 per month).
2. How many palatial mansions can we afford to maintain at public expense?
Maintaining a palace would each cost millions of rufiyaa per month, apart from the difficulty of finding suitable buildings for the purpose.
3. What is the purpose of providing security to presidents and ex-presidents?
If it is for ceremonial purposes to boost their ego, then each would require a platoon of troops. But if it is to counter real threats to the life and person of a president or ex-president, then the number of security personnel would be dependent on the threat level assessed by the armed forces. An ex-president also could face serious security threats. In 1953, the then ex-president Mohammed Amin was lynched by a mob, when he returned to Male from exile in Dhoonidhoo.