Fiji’s workers’ pension fund, the Fiji National Provident Fund has reiterated that members funds are well protected and that the Fund has the capacity to meet partial withdrawals for members who have lost work orworking on reduced pay or hours due to the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic.
Fund chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi gave the reassurance during a news conference he called at the Fund’s boardroom in Suva to announce the start of a new round of withdrawals for affected members.
“I must stress that the Fund is well within its financial means to enable these withdrawals for members, while continuing to monitor and manage the impact of the pandemic on our business and operations. The Fund’s total assets is in excess of $7 billion and with cash deposit in excess of $500m, so the Fund has the financial capacity to pay this financial obligations to our members.”
With the next phase of payout to members due to start on 1 September, and continue for the next two months, Koroi could not say how long this assistance would last. “We are continuing to assess as we go.We are hopeful that things can turn out quickly but as I said Phase Two Round 2 is for another five fortnights, of $110.”
To date, a total of 113 thousand FNPF members have been assisted in which a total of $87 million have been paid out. This number is expected to rise however to around 159-thousand workers when new payout schemes are rolled out by the Fund, including draw down for those who have been unemployed since October 2017.
On Fiji Airways, Koroi said therehave been no new talks for additional loans to the national carrier after it lent $53 million in March this year. He confirmed though that the airline had applied and granted a moratorium on interest payments. “Like any lender, we are assessing the situation that we have on hand now. Of course Fiji Airways plays a very important role for our tourism sector, we also have a lot of our own investments in the tourism sector, so we will have to assess that loan under the current environment that we have. Our facilities are well secured, in terms of the $53m that we lent recently was guaranteed by government.”