COVID-19 | NATION

COVID-19: Soldiers, Police Help Keep Order Outside FNPF

Soldiers from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces were also engaged to assist Police in controlling the large number of people gathered to inquire about financial assistance.
31 Mar 2020 10:59
COVID-19: Soldiers, Police Help Keep Order Outside FNPF
A staff member of Fiji National Provident Fund’s Lautoka branch talks to customers on March 30, 2020. Photo: Salote Qalubau. Inset: A Republic of the Fiji Military Forces soldier stands guard outside the Fiji National Provident Fund Lautoka branch on March 30, 2020.

The presence of Police officers was evident yesterday at the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) Lautoka branch, as people crowded the entrance in hopes of financial assistance.

Commander Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto said the RFMF had two operations that were ongoing.

“We are doing two operations; one is to support Police and the other is looking after national vital assets like reservoirs, pumping stations, beacons for aircraft and transmission towers we do every time,” he said.

“The officers that came in the morning just came to start it off and the rest will be unarmed from now,” he said.

“Police officers were deployed to manage the crowd at the FNPF complex and not only there, but other situations where crowds had gathered, to ensure safety and reinforce physical distancing measures as directed by the Honourable PM and the Ministry of Health,” he said.

A Republic of the Fiji Military Forces soldier stands guard outside the Fiji National Provident Fund Lautoka branch on March 30, 2020.

A Republic of the Fiji Military Forces soldier stands guard outside the Fiji National Provident Fund Lautoka branch on March 30, 2020.

Avikesh Kumar Singh of Natabua Seaside, Lautoka, was one of the many people lined up outside the Fiji National Provident Fund Lautoka branch to view the list of companies eligible for the $1000 assistance.

“I came to confirm whether or not my company name is there,” he said.

“If my company name is there then this will help my family a lot.”

Mr Kumar said the presence of Police officers was necessary to enforce social distancing.

“I think it’s necessary for Police to be here, but people are going in by one by one and one staff member is staying outside to explain to people what they should do,” he said.

FNPF Suva branch

In Suva, close to 200 people lined up outside the FNPF office for similar reasons.

People lining up outside the Fiji National Provident Fund branch in Suva on March 30, 2020. Photo: Shreeya Verma

People lining up outside the Fiji National Provident Fund branch in Suva on March 30, 2020. Photo: Shreeya Verma

According to the criteria on COVID-19 FNPF assistance, members still did not provide the proper paperwork and many of them were sent back without being able to apply for cash withdrawal.

Jope Ratu, 45, an employee at the Pearl Resort, said he was one of those who were not able to apply..

“I did meet the FNPF COVID-19 assistance criteria as imposed by Government in their budget, but I was still confused about the form, which only my employer could provide me,” he said.

Meanwhile, a man who chose to be anonymous, but works in a tourism sector from Lautoka, said his application was successful.

“My employer had filled and gave me the application form,” he said.

One of the officers from FNPF said some members were still entering for withdrawal without bringing the proper forms from their employers.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: salote.qalubau@fijisun.com.fj

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