FNPF challenges…and regional opportunities

The Fiji National Provident Fund continues to be concerned by low levels of savings by its members on retirement and the need to extend its coverage to the informal sector.

The FNPF says that in 2019, 66 per cent of its members due to retire at some point over the next ten years have balances below F$10,000 (US$4561).

It says 88 per cent of its members earn below F$30k (US$13,864) per annum and 49 per cent withdraw funds for housing and other related family assistance within the social benefits scheme of the fund.

However on a more positive note, 32 per cent of members continue to consistently contribute to savings within the fund. FNPF highlighted 3,200 members have not fully complied with payments.

In terms of extending its coverage to the informal sector, the FNPF hopes to better assist its 125,000 members who fall into this category.

A detailed breakdown of this figure showed that 8,000 are farmers, 2,500 seasonal workers, 9,000 taxi drivers and 25,000 are domestic workers.

The reality of the discovery is that 128,000 members are retiring with low balances and 125,000 of these work in the informal sector.

FNPF CEO Jaoji Koroi stated: “the reality is now a problem and talking about it with the stakeholders should give us ideas of what can we can do to address these issues.”

The FNPF says these groups are susceptible to social problems, are unable to afford social protection and continued cycle of old age poverty.

Meanwhile the International Social Security Association (ISSA) has opened a branch in Fiji, hosted at FNPF, which aims to foster better social security and protection for the Pacific region.

Currently only Samoa and Fiji are members of ISSA, although the Association hopes other regional countries will join.

“ISSA is an organisation recognised for looking after social security and protection for countries all over the world and FNPF has a lot to learn from them,” Jaoji Koroi said at the branch launch.