Lockdown allowed Fund to renovate hotels

Fiji National Provident Fund acting CEO Viliame Vodonaivalu speaks to the media at a press conference in Suva. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FT FILE

The Fiji National Provident Fund CEO Viliame Vodonaivalu said lockdowns, travel restrictions and the shutdown of international borders allowed the fund to upgrade two of its major hotels, Sheraton Fiji Resort and the Westin Resort, both located on Denarau Island.

“While local tourism provided some cash flow relief, the resultant effects of the second wave of the pandemic further exacerbated their performance,” he noted in his 2021 annual report message.

“The fund used this down time to upgrade two if its hotels — the Sheraton underwent major refurbishment and the Westin Resort upgrade project commenced.

“This sector makes up 8 per cent of our total investment portfolio.”

The CEO said the telecommunication sector thrived under the crisis, earning healthy return margins and this comprised about 14.7 per cent of the fund investment which had been vital to the health of the fund’s portfolio.

Mr Vodonaivalu said there were also plans in place to review the fund scheme designs.

This would include a re-evaluation of the fund pre-retirement products, accumulation and retirement of offerings to ensure it would be fit-for-purpose, suitable to Fiji’s context.

“Members need to be protected against unexpected life events to support them without denying them the opportunity to pursue and achieve retirement of security.”

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