The following article has been moderated, the original can be seen at Coup 4.5
The current Government of the Day is now passing around a Draft FNPF 2011 Decree, for comments from selected people.
The Draft Decree has references to “codes of conduct” “transparency” “duty” to FNPF Members, duty to become a whistle-blower who will be protected, etc., etc., etc.
But quietly put in all the sections to do with the real control of the money flows, are clauses which ensure that the “Government of the Day” and FNPF Board can do virtually anything they want to, with the life savings of the workers of Fiji.
The 7 member Board will be all appointed by the Minister. There will be no direct representatives of FNPF contributors, or FNPF pensioners or employees or employers.
The Board will not be Trustees but shall “own” all the assets of the Fund and be free to do whatever they want, establish whatever policies and procedures they want.
Sorry, that’s not strictly correct: the Board will have to implement whatever is required through “a written law” (yet to be written). By whom, did you ask? Ha ha ha.
The annuity (pension rate) to be paid from the Retirement Income Fund will be reduced to 8.7% single pension rate if you retire at 55 but the rate will slowly rise if you retire later- going up to 12.3% if you retire at 70.
The Board will also be given the powers to vary the annuity as and when they see fit (i.e. no need for elected Parliaments), with frequent advice from actuarial experts (who are how so fortunately guaranteed regular incomes from the FNPF).
And if the “Retirement Fund” makes a “surplus” (why on earth should it?) then the surplus goes to the General Fund, where the Board can dispose of any amount, as they wish.
Stuck somewhere is also a statement that the Board must ensure equity not just between different classes of fund contributors, but also between annuity receivers (i.e. pensioners) and current contributors. i.e. this is the clause that will be used to reduce existing pensions, no doubt once the new Board has all the new “powers”.
Promontory had recommended that there be a separate Retirement Income Fund solely to pay for the annuities, and the General Fund which would manage the workers savings as they came in. This made sense for the future.
But the Draft FNPF 2011 decree also recommends (Clauses 86, 87 and 88) the setting up of a strange undefined “Supplementary Fund”.
Read closely the Draft Decree about how this “Supplementary Fund” is to be set up (where the money is to come from), and how the funds are to be used, including, a reference to “a written law” (yet to be written).
Pensioner might ask themselves: if this Government can trash already existing contracts between the elected Fiji Parliament and pensioners, why won’t it trash any future contract with future pensioners, allegedly governed by the Draft FNPF 2011 Decree? Indeed, who can trust this Government to keep any contract?
Quiz for pensioners: will the FNPF 2011 Decree change anything at all at FNPF?
The current FNPF Board and Management has been appointed by the same Government that is drafting this FNPF decree. Answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions:
Anyone answering “Don’t know” to any of these questions, go back and bury your head in the sand. Don’t bother answering question 20.
1 Is the primary concern of the current FNPF Board and Management your interests?
2 Is the current FNPF management giving you all the relevant data and Reports you need to make your own assessments?
3 Will the FNPF Board and Management give you the Consultants’ Original Draft Legislation on the FNPF 2011 Decree, so you can compare and ascertain what Khaiyum and his lawyer mates have made changes to the original draft?
4 Have Bainimarama and Khaiyum been really up-front and honest in giving you all the reports on the misuse of FNPF funds by the FNPF Board members?
5 Have the FNPF Management got expert legal advice that all that pensioners have with FNPF is an “agreement”, not a “contract”?
6 Has the Reserve Bank of Fiji been successful at restraining the irresponsible lending and investments by the FNPF, and looking after the legitimate interests of FNPF members such as its foreign investments?
7 Is the Reserve Bank going to recommend that the FNPF Board has majority members directly elected by FNPF contributors and pensioners?
8 Has this FNPF restructuring anything to do with the alleged reasons for the coup: removing corruption, bringing racial equality, one man-one vote?
9 Have the FNPF contributors and pensioners asked Bainimarama and Khaiyum to do all this drastic restructuring with their pension fund?
10 Are Bainimarama and Khaiyum restructuring FNPF because they care about workers and pensioners?
11 Is the FNPF a welfare organization where those receiving less than $100 per month will be “topped up” at the expense of the pensioners whose pensions have been cut?
12 Is the return of 8.7% on your lifetime savings a FANTASTIC RETURN, with inflation running at more than 5%, and likely to rise even more with the irresponsible increased government expenditures on salaries, without any real growth of the economy?
13 Will the jovial current President of Fiji sign the FNPF 2011 Decree?
14 Will the jovial current Presidents’ mates continue to happily socialize with him at the Defence Club and Fiji Golf Club, and parties organized by embassies, international and CROP organisations, universities, NGOs, etc etc?
15 Can you question anyone in power about your FNPF pensions and Fund? The current President? The current Prime Minister? The current Attorney General?
16 Can you freely discuss the Draft FNPF Decree publicly in Fiji?
17 Does the current Government really believe in the Charter principles of accountability and transparency? (What? You have not read the Charter yet? Oh dear.)
18 Does the Draft FNPF Decree indicate that the Bainimarama/Khaiyum Regime will give up control of Fiji, FNPF, etc after the free and fair one-man-one-vote “elections” in 2014? (hee hee hee).
19 Will Fiji workers now have to work much harder in order to save for their retirement?
(If you don’t know this answer, read George Orwell’s Animal Farm– available free on the internet- and note especially what Napoleon, Squealer, and Raven did after they took over the farm allegedly for the welfare of the farm animals. (Who do Napoleon, Squealer and Raven remind you of? Of dear, what a tough question.)
20 Will Fiji’s smart lawyers and accountants and even former FNPF management rush up to analyze the Draft FNPF Decree so as to enlighten the ignorant FNPF contributors and pensioners?
21 Is it “time out” for those who have been bashing their heads against the wall for the last decade, with little support from FNPF members who slumbered?