TBILISI, DFWatch–Despite the phasing out of bonuses, the income of members of parliament has not decreased significantly.

According to data published by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), even though the parliament elected in October 2012 has nearly half the bonuses the previous one had, the total amount of salaries is almost unchanged. Also, because of salary supplements parliamentarians get, their total monthly income is still twice more than their salaries.

About GEL 2.7 million in bonuses have been allocated for members of parliament during the period from January 1, 2012 to April, 2013. Out of this GEL 2.7 million, about 1.7 million was received in the previous parliament assembly (January-October 2012), but the salaries of both assemblies were about GEL 1.5 million.

The base salary of MPs is GEL 2,000. A monthly salary supplement and bonuses that amounted to about 2,000-4,000 GEL were allocated for the previous parliament assembly last year. In the period from October to January after the election of the new parliament, the bonus system was unchanged.

Speaker of Parliament David Usufashvili explained that the government had to use the already approved budget and bonus system, but from 2013, the system would be changed.

“We changed this malformed system. After January 2013, no bonuses are provided for MPs. There will be a fund for quarterly bonuses that will be given only for merit,” Usupashvili said in 2012.

According to IDFI, after February 2013, MPs in fact don’t receive bonuses, but the amount of their salary supplements has been increased at the expense of phasing out the bonuses. The speaker of the previous parliament assembly used to receive GEL 2,450 GEL but now gets GEL 3,905 as salary additive.

IDFI assumed previous and current total amounts of salaries and concluded that although the aim of phasing out the system with monthly bonuses was to decrease the income of MPs with 30%, but actually it has decreased only by 5%.