Suddenly the FNPP is in crisis. For months the Fund management has been assuring us that the FNPF is operating well and our money is safe. In October the FNPF reported strong results with a net surplus of $243 million. Assets were up and contributions to the FNPF were the highest in the Fund’s history. To add icing to our cake investment income grew steadily. We say “our cake” because the FNPF belongs to its members and pensioners are members. It does not belong to the Government.
So the Fund has presented a very positive picture and naturally we welcome this. But now, out of the blue, the FNPF CEO Mr Aisake Taito, is referring to the FNPF’s “current crisis”. This is extremely alarming. He made the comment in the Fiji Government’s propaganda rag, the Fiji Sun.
Mr Taito has never spoken in these terms before.
He did not spell out precisely what the crisis is. But with a financial institution like the FNPF a crisis usually relates to urgent money problems. So what are these pressing problems that have emerged so soon after the triumph of the recently declared surplus, improved assets, and record contributions? Has the FNPF unexpectedly moved into reverse?
Mr Taito should be asked about this at the current round of meetings. For the sake of accountability and good corporate governance, Mr Taito should provide the details of the disaster that has struck the FNPF.
It cannot be about payment of current legally binding pensions because the Fund has said consistently that it can continue for another 40 to 45 years as it is presently organised.
Mr Taito should also stop spreading the false story that the many pensioners who are upset and angered by the FNPF’s insensitive and cruel handling of their monthly entitlements, are trying to stop the Fund’s reforms. Mr Taito knows very well that this is not true.
We are not fools. We understand the need for reform for future sustainability. But we do not accept that the reform should involve smashing current pension contracts .
About ninety percent of the 11000 pensioners are below the poverty line. We welcome the FNPF’s plans to “top up” their payments although these arrangements appear to be less than generous.
That leaves about 1200 of us who face the big chop. The majority of our group are from the working and middle classes, ordinary, hardworking citizens who have contributed to Fiji and continue to do so. We have also contributed to the FNPF and helped to subsidise other pensioners before we reached retirement age.
We do not deserve the hard-hearted and uncaring treatment dispensed to us by the management and board of the FNPF.
Shame on them, we say. A big shame on them.