FNPF has been on a misinformation campaign to justify its preconceived decision to cut pension rates under the pretext of maintaining the long term sustainability of the Fund.
In its latest misinformation propaganda it is telling people through expensive media advertisements, paid for by the members of the Fund, that cuts to pension rates are necessary because pensioners outlive their savings or contributions in the Fund.
The FNPF advertisement assumes that pensioners will live up to 75 years ie 20 years after retirement at the age of 55. It has based its one-sided computation favouring its agenda on this premise. It is a false premise as the average level of life expectancy in Fiji, at best, is 69, if not less.
There are two fundamental flaws in the propaganda unleashed by the Fund:
- First, is the fact that pension schemes must not be treated as a Bank account. A life time annuity has to be maintained irrespective of how long a pensioner lives and should not be altered to his/her disadvantage.
- The second, is that the rate of annuity of between 25-15% is sustainable. The Fund is not in any immediate danger as is borne out by its latest audited accounts. It has adequate reserves to maintain the existing annuity rates into the foreseeable future.
All these have been explained to the FNPF in our detailed submissions forwarded to them on 2 June 2011.
The main issue, however, which the members of the Fund and pensioners should vigorously pursue is the return of some $700 million of FNPF moneys frittered away in bad investments by the Rabuka, Qarase and Bainimarama governments – ATH, GPH, Momi Bay and Natadola etc.
This huge sum must be repaid to the Fund. Remember, the Rabula government bailed out the NBF in 1997 to the tune of $500 million.
Members of the Fund and retirees have every right to demand the restitution of their money to maintain their pensions and to drive home the point that no government past, present or future will be allowed to get away with infidelity where it concerns public funds.
FNPF and the State must not be allowed to dodge or ignore the root cause of the problem which lies in the workers money in trust being frittered away on pet projects by irresponsible governments.
Many submissions on the subject have laid emphasis on the fact that the Fund is in no immediate danger of collapse. Our submissions have made a number of very practical options which if employed, would not only restore the long term financial viability of the Fund but would also enable it to increase the current rate of annuity of 15%.
Workers and pensioners must not accept anything less.
NB: The Fiji Labour Party submission can be viewed on the FLP website – posted on 27 May 2011