NATION

Better Future for Pensioners

The new Fijian Constitution is very much focused on socio-economic development, says the Attorney-General and Minister of Finance,  Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said. He was the chief guest at the Fiji Pensioners’
26 Jul 2015 11:54
Better Future  for Pensioners

The new Fijian Constitution is very much focused on socio-economic development, says the Attorney-General and Minister of Finance,  Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He was the chief guest at the Fiji Pensioners’ Association 51st annual general meeting in Suva yesterday.

“In fact the enforcement of the rights of the people whether they are pensioners or young people in terms of access to socio-economic rights.  What I mean is the right to drinking clean water, housing, being free from hunger, socio-economic participation, people disabilities, and young people. These are very critical elements like access to transportation because these are rights enforceable by anybody.

“I can tell you the number of cases outside of Fiji where enforcement of socio-economic rights nationally help people.”

He said in South Africa, an elderly man took the South African government to court because the health centre close to where he lives did not have a kidney dialysis machine.

“In their constitution, they have the right to health. If you see in South Africa and Fiji, the government has the responsibility to provide all these rights within the resources it has.”

“I would like to highlight to you what is highlighted by the President. We have in effect since 2012 up till recently given 40 per cent increase in the pension as you know the first in 2012 and another 2015 just recently.”

He said Government now gave pension allowance to people below the age of 70 and from this year, it has dropped to 68 as announced by the FijiFirst manifesto.

“We hope to drop it down even further so the target being at least 65 in next few years where people will get pension and you entrails to that extra pension  called Special Pensions Scheme.

“We have had the struck a deal. Those who use public transportation will pay half fare bus fare now and that was a dealt that was struck with Fiji Bus Operators Association in about 2012 and 2011 where when we gave bus fare increase, we said “you must include pensioners as part of that.”

He said the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar, with the association, launched the special seats for elderly.

“Obviously these are the type of changes we want to bring about to be able to recognise the pensioners.

“A far as members with Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) as said to have eight cents in a dollar and eight per cent being contributed both by employer and employee. From this year, we have again changed the law where the employee contributes eight per cent, but employers have to contribute 10 per cent. In other words, we are increasing the level of saving.”

“In Fiji, the FNPF funds and amounts is nontaxable as highlighted by the President; you don’t pay tax on that if it’s through FNPF scheme.

“I know that it doesn’t necessarily affect those of you on Suva pension, but I just wanted to put that in to prospective to have an understanding as to how the entire pension scheme works,” he said.




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