All MPs to get car, driver, fixed fuel
The Parliament Secretariat Commission yesterday decided to provide lawmakers with a vehicle, a driver and a certain amount of fuel allowance each as it is against reintroducing the provision that allows MPs to import duty-free cars.
The last caretaker government scrapped the provision through an ordinance in the wake of widespread scandal and irregularities in importing duty-free luxurious cars.
But the new parliament did not ratify the ordinance, which increased hopes among many lawmakers about getting back the privilege.
"No duty-free cars from now," Speaker Abdul Hamid, chief of the Parliament Secretariat Commission, told reporters at his office after a meeting of the commission.
"Lawmakers will get vehicles from next July and all of them will get vehicles in the next financial year...Committee chiefs will get priority in this regard," the speaker said. "We will seek supplementary budget for the Parliament Secretariat for purchasing the vehicles."
As per the commission's decision, chiefs of different parliamentary committees can use the Jatiya Sangsad's flag on their vehicles. Each committee chief will also get a gunman for security.
The commission also decided that the speaker's vehicle would carry the flag of the Jatiya Sangsad.
Asked if lawmakers can also use the Jatiya Sangsad's flag on their cars, the speaker said, "Let them have the vehicles first."
Lawmakers, who hold various government and parliamentary offices, have already got vehicles. Now those who do not hold any office will get vehicles.
Asked how much money it will require to purchase vehicles for all lawmakers, Abdul Hamid said they are yet to calculate the amount, but he said no luxury car would be bought.
The Parliament Secretariat Commission approved the proposals for providing lawmakers with offices at the old MPs' hostels on the parliament building premises. Hamid said they would also get offices in their own constituencies in the future.
The meeting decided to launch a terrestrial television channel to broadcast parliamentary proceedings live. "A separate project will be taken up for launching the television channel," Hamid said.
The commission empowered the speaker to limit the office allowances of VIPs in parliament as unlimited expenditures in the last parliament have drawn much criticism.
The VIPs offices in parliament include the offices of the speaker, leader of the House, deputy speaker, opposition leader, chief whip and other whips.
The meeting also empowered the speaker to increase benefits of the opposition chief whip.
The meeting approved the Parliament Secretariat's budget of around Tk 60 crore for the next financial year. It decided to increase the overtime bill for Parliament Secretariat officials to Tk 200 from Tk 100.
A four-member committee was formed at the meeting with the additional secretary of the Parliament Secretariat as its chief to remove anomalies in the organisational structure of the secretariat.
The commission cancelled recruitment of 41 class IV staffs appointed by former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar at the fag end of his tenure.
Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina, who is a member of the commission, attended the meeting.