Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer has refuted claims that members of the government receive a travel allowance of $500 per day each time they embark on overseas assignments.
Hot Seat co-host Daniel Davies said he understood that government ministers and other high-ranking government officials receive that amount and were not required to submit any receipts for their expenses.
Davies questioned why officials needed that kind of money and how they were able to skirt accountability in the process.
“These things are supposed to cover incidentals such as food, which is free anyway because they go on these conferences and food is usually paid for. Transportation – transportation is generally paid for. Is it right?” Davies questioned.
Other Hot Seat co-hosts, Walwyn Brewley and Julian Gordon, said officials can take their per diem and do whatever they want with it, including spending at casinos if they choose to do this since the funds are privileged.
Davies suggested, however, that ministers travel very frequently and should reimburse the amounts that they do not spend since they were spending ‘the people’s money’.
“Five hundred dollars per day per diem is not something that I think is sustainable if it is that much. But even if it is a bit less, five hundred dollars per day, that’s more than most people earn in a week,” Davies added. “What on earth are you doing with that kind of money?”
But Rymer disputed the claims of officials receiving large spending allowances and disclosed that officials receive just a $100 per diem instead.
The Minister also suggested that these figures can be verified with officials in the government’s Human Resources Department.
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