Party officials paid for nothing

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday 23rd August, 2012

GENERAL secretaries of political parties are paid up to K4,000 a fortnight by the state, the same as level four departmental heads in the public service, but a review will be done, the registrar of political parties said yesterday. 
Dr Alphonse Gelu said in Port Moresby yesterday general secretaries of most of these parties, including the smaller ones with single MPs in parliament, were getting paid for doing practically nothing.
“They are being paid handsomely by the state for doing nothing at all,” Gelu said.
In this parliament, there are 21 registered political parties with MPs ranging from one per party to the 28 for the People’s National Congress party which has the most number of members of parliament.
That adds-up to a salary bill of more than K80,000 a fortnight, irrespective of a party having one or more MPs in parliament.
“They all earn the same salary including gratuity, leave and other entitlements,” Dr Gelu said.
Party presidents and treasurers are also paid monthly stipends by the state.
Gelu said a review on the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties (OLIPPAC) is imminent and a couple of critical issues would  be determined to further strengthen the political party system, including adjustments to what he describes as “unfair remuneration packages” between underperforming parties and prominent parties. 
“Why would the general secretary of a party with one member of parliament earn the same as the general secretary of another party that has many MPs in parliament?
“It is unfair and illogical
“And I mean to resolve this issue during the review of OLIPPAC,” said the Registrar.
‘‘Why would they be paid for doing nothing at all?” he asked.
Gelu said accountability was another pressing issue to be addressed by the review.
“After the review, political party officials will be duty-bound to submit monthly reports to my office on their performances. 
“Starting this year these party officials must start to earn their pay which comes from the state’s purse,” he said.