- Sports News : NRC cancellation a blow for Fijian Drua rugby team [05/06/2020 - Fiji]
- News Feature : Vanuatu MPs undergo induction for new term of Parliament [05/06/2020 - Vanuatu]
- News Feature : The Government of Japan funds UN Women programmes to address the challenges of women and girls during COVID-19 [05/06/2020 - Fiji]
- Business News : End to Sydney, LA flights puts subsidy up in the air [05/06/2020 - Fiji]
- Business News : $30 million investment in network upgrade [05/06/2020 - Fiji]
- Business News : Niue will begin testing going LIVE with the Manatua cable by June-end [05/06/2020 - Niue]
- News : Fiji PM Bainimarama salutes health workers, new measures next week [05/06/2020 - Fiji]
- News : The election is over; hard work begins in forming alliances and MPs – elect contest position of Niue Premier [05/06/2020 - Niue]
- News : Nauru President calls for an end to USP saga [05/06/2020 - Nauru]
- News : Measures remain in place to ensure that Niue remains Covid-19 free and will be reviewed by new Cabinet [05/06/2020 - Niue]
- News Feature : UNICEF and WHO call on Pacific Island countries to strengthen policies on breast-milk substitutes [05/06/2020 - Fiji]
- News Feature : Time to reflect on the importance of Pacific biodiversity during World Environment Day [05/06/2020 - Samoa]
- Sponsored : Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC)
The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) said it has enough cash to pay out to members who lose their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the Fijian economy.
Amid growing concerns that the Fund is being used to compensate for government's lack of direct assistance to out-of-work Fijians when it unveiled its COVID-19 response budget last week, FNPF CEO Jaoji Koroi said the superannuation fund's liquidity and solvency were healthy and robust that there was no need for alarm.
“For your comfort, we have about F$400million (US$175million) cash in the banking system and that's not including the deposit we hold with them," he said in a media conference Monday.
“We have projections for the next 12 months and we're adequately covered in terms of our cash flow so as far as we're concerned, there's sufficient funds for us to meet our obligations," Koroi said, adding that FNPF recorded a net reserve of FJD$1.3 billion (US$570 million) last financial year and solvency was also currently being reviewed.
The Fijian government in its COVID-19 response budget, had announced that FNPF members employed in the country's tourism sector - the first to buckle under COVID-19 - may withdraw up to FJD$1000 (US$437) to assist them as the country waits for normalcy to return.
As well, members in the currently-quarantined Lautoka city were eligible for F$500 (US$218) each.
Some 43,000 workers are immediately eligible under the two assistance measures but as money would be deducted from their own accounts, Koroi said not all may want to withdraw.
However, in case they do, around FJD$40m (US$17.5m) was ready to meet that obligation.
“It's doable,” he said. “We did Cyclone Winston [FNPF's relief package to eligible members after Cyclone Winston ravaged the country in 2016] and that was around FJD$276 million (US$121 million), so cash is sufficient to meet all these things.”
The Fund already offers unemployment benefit for its members but this has been reduced from FJD$2,000(US$877) per member to FJD$1,000(US$437) to streamline processing.
It is expected that members outside the tourism sector who lose their jobs during these harsh times may apply for that.
As Fiji's largest financial institution with over FJD$7billion (US$3billion) worth of assets in 2019 and half the population as its members, FNPF is a major force in the stability of the country's economy, with around 42 percent of that $7b invested in Fiji government securities in Fiji and in the international financial markets.
It has not ruled out buying more in the upcoming government issuance to finance the FJD$1billion (US$500 million) COVID-19 response budget.
“We're no different from any other superannuation funds as everywhere else, they're all going for treasury bills. The stock markets have fallen by 20-30 percent so this [government securities] is a safe investment that is giving us the returns," Koroi said.
The Fund is also a significant investor in the tourism sector, being owner or part owner of some of Fiji's top hotels, which have either closed or are in the process of closing as the global tourism industry is brought to its knees by COVID-19.
Koroi said the FNPF will use the current slowdown to refurbish some of these hotels.
SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media