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Service improvement

Fiji National Provident Fund
Saturday, November 25, 2017

WE will continue to encourage you, our members, to make informed decisions about the service and products Fiji National Provident Fund offers in regards to your hard-earned retirement savings.

Educating you on our roles, products and services ensures that you are aware of our responsibilities and more importantly, your rights as a member.

This is an important function of the board and requires us to continually educate and inform our members about FNPF.

As such, we capitalise on all opportunities to disseminate information about us.

We conduct awareness programs and meetings inclusive of the annual member forum; publish annual reports, media releases, educational articles, pension booklets and member newsletters.

We have also increased our electronic presence through our website, social media and other mobile applications. Equally important is that we also want to hear from you. Your feedbacks give us the opportunity to review the way we deliver our service and to ensure that these are relevant.

In the last financial year, we have restructured the organisation to streamline our support functions, consolidate the member services functions, strengthen and realign the contributions functions and improve online services. These changes are in line with our vision to secure your future and our mission to understand our customers, offer quality services and ensure that our members have a meaningful retirement.

You would recall that significant policy changes were made in the FNPF legislation in 2011 to ensure members accumulate a meaningful level of savings through their working life.

These changes saw the introduction of appropriate reservation policy and limiting access to preretirement withdrawals. Establishing the two account policy, Preserved and general, was to ensure that 70 per cent of your funds are preserved for your retirement.

However, we do recognise the needs of our members and will review our withdrawal policies in compliance with the FNPF Act.

Since our establishment in 1966, the fund has been there for our members.

We have helped them own their homes; get an education; receive medical treatment; as well as provide for them during their time of sorrow. We have also provided a steady source of income for those who have retired and chosen to invest their hard earned savings with us. We have evolved to meet the needs of each new generation of worker, employer, retiree and their families.

For the financial year 2017, the fund paid out the following:

* $47.5 million for partial withdrawals inclusive of education, medical, unemployment and funeral;

* $32.8m for housing;

* $4.6m for disabililty;

* $36.2m for migration;

* $137.3m for withdrawals for 55 years and over; and

* $21.9m for death.

These figures are expected to increase next year as the FNPF board, last month, approved major changes to its current withdrawal policies to further assist members with their housing, funeral, unemployment, medical and education needs.

These changes also include changes to the mode of payment for processing fees, allowing members to opt to have these fees directly deducted from their member balances.

As we have stated earlier, these changes are in direct response to suggestions and concerns raised by members from past member forums. Changes that will come into effect on 1 February, 2018 are as follows:

Early withdrawals:

* Education:

a. Members can now assist their parents;

b. Increase in textbook allowance to $400 per student per semester twice a year;

c. FNPF assistance is only for accredited institutions and courses that are examinable resulting in academic certification of attainment and not participation/completion;

d. Members are only required to submit invoices from institutions if applying for accommodation assistance;

e. Penster now recognised as a term of study;

f. Overseas incidental expenses for Year 12 sponsored students; and

g. Maximum of $2000 is allowed for overseas incidental expenses for short term courses that are less than six months.

* Funeral:

a. Maximum assistance has increased to $2000 from $1500;

b. Members next of kin is to apply within 30 working days from the date of death.

* Unemployment:

a. Seasonal workers can now access this assistance; and

b. Members who have resigned on own accord or have cases pending disciplinary tribunals can apply after three months but within six months from the last date of employment.

* Medical:

a. Assistance covers prosthetics, hearing aid and wheelchair; and funds will be paid directly to suppliers/vendors.

* Housing and streamlining of requirement:

a. Only one quotation each is now required from surveyor, labour costs for self-build projects, and general contractor quotation;

b. Approved plan and valuation report required only for fully financed applications;

c. Valuation report can be obtained from any registered valuer in Fiji;

d. Title searches should not be more than 30 working days — previously it was 20 working days; and

e. Quantity surveyors report is now only required for projects exceeding $30,000.

* Lease arrangements:

a. Members who have unregistered leases (agreement for lease; instrument of tenancy; approval notice for lease) can access housing assistance and;

b. They can purchase property from TLTB or Ministry of Lands or purchase from a vendor to survey or build a house;

c. The $218 TLTB can be paid with the premium or included as part of the surveyor's cost; and

d. Agricultural lease term of at least 10 years, can be assisted.

* Village housing:

a. Members can access assistance for more than one house within the village boundary if they have sufficient funds from their general account.

* Full withdrawal and small account:

a. Members with less than $5000 can withdraw their funds if they are:

* over 50 years old; and

* have been unemployed for more than three years.

* Medical incapacitation:

a. Medical board is now required to meet once every fortnight to assess cases; and

b. Board membership has been increased from three to eight with a quorum requirement of three.

Processing fees

* Fees for partial/early withdrawals ($10), quick repairs ($50); housing ($100) can be paid through the following:

a. Deducted from member's balance;

b. Part cash and part deduction from member's balance; and

c. Cash.

* If you want us to provide an awareness program for your work group, or social group, please feel free to contact us at

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