FIJI NEWS

Policies on FNPF Pension Scheme

FARISHA AHMED SUVA While some political parties have outlined their Fiji National Provident Fund policies in their manifestos, others have kept theirs close to their chest as to what they
09 Aug 2014 09:28

FARISHA AHMED
SUVA

While some political parties have outlined their Fiji National Provident Fund policies in their manifestos, others have kept theirs close to their chest as to what they would do if they come into power.
Some want to restore the pension cuts of some made during reforms while others will do what they claim will be different and more efficient management.
Here is an overview on what the parties have to say:

Fiji United Freedom Party
The party president, Jagath Karunaratne, said the party appreciated the fact that FNPF was a fund that focused mainly on the retirement and also various assistances it provided to the work force but believes that it should be widened to the larger community without hindrance.
“We have a wide range of resources including the land and there are many resource owners wanting to enter into the corporate world,” Mr Karunaratne said.
“Such members of the community should be able to become members of FNPF with specific arrangements on how and then they should be facilitated with funding options to provide a starting capital for small and medium businesses.
“But we do not suggest that FNPF should become a bank, but a financial institution that encourages local investment through resource owners and also small and medium businesses,” he said.

FijiFirst party
Prime Minister and FijiFirst party leader Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama, during the opening of the FNPF Lautoka branch, said the current Government had taken the hard but necessary decisions to change the way they did things and have put the nation’s financial position on a better and more sustainable footing.
He said a small group of FNPF members have had to make adjustments, but an adjustment necessary to ensure that the pension scheme – which like all pension schemes-is based on sharing risks – became sustainable, fair and just for all members of FNPF.
“When you hear some of the lies that are being told and the false promises being made, I want every Fijian to remember this. The reform programme is working. We’ve not only reversed the downward spiral but achieved a remarkable turnaround,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“The FNPF’s financial position is now strong and sound. And the proof of that is in the audited financial results for 2013 – a net surplus of $293million.
“That’s a 21 per cent improvement in underlying performance.
“That means the savings of ordinary Fijians are secure.
“That means the 300-thousand FNPF members who are yet to retire can be confident about their nest eggs and their futures.”
What the current Government has done in the past seven years is likely to continue.

National Federation Party
Party leader Dr Biman Prasad during meetings and as well as in his leadership appointment speech said FNPF has been mismanaged since 1987.
The NFP will review the management structure of FNPF, review the representation on the board so that workers representatives have a majority decision making power.
The NFP will review the contractual violations to the pension rates for our pensioners.
In their manifesto Dr Prasad said the current FNPF contribution merely provided a retirement fund for its members hence they would review the FNPF structure and management for an “efficient and sustainable” pension fund.

People’s Democratic Party
The People’s Democratic Party had stated that it would review the scheme so that members could enjoy a “fair” superannuation scheme.
Its leader, Felix Anthony, was a board member for the Fund when Mahendra Chaudhry was Minister for Finance in the Bainimarama Government.
“We will review the Fiji National Provident Fund Act in order to ensure that members are able to enjoy the benefits of a fair, equitable, and well managed superannuation scheme on retirement and not having to live under the poverty line,” he said.
The party would reduce its reliance on FNPF, so as to facilitate increased lending to the private sector, where previous governments heavy reliance on FNPF funding.

Fiji Labour Party
The party outlined in its manifesto that it would restore the pension rates of all pensioners who have suffered a cut of an average 50 per cent and it would revert the annuity rate to 15 per cent, gradually rising to 20 per cent.
The party would work with employers to increase the rate of contribution so that workers may retire on a “decent” pension.
Additionally it will index FNPF pension to increases in the cost of living.

SODELPA
In their manifesto, it said the party would review the pension scheme and ensure FNPF respected contractual obligations and would consider other options with the aim of minimising losses suffered by pensioners.
They have also outlined that they would ensure those whose pensions were withheld under the Bainimarama Government Regulation of Pensions and Retirement Allowance Decree 2009 received full repayment. They would also ensure that pension of survivors of the Malaya campaign and World War II were increased.

One Fiji Party
The party has yet to make its stand on the FNPF pension scheme known.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj




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