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By Robert L. Iroga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 21) – Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (NPF) members are tipped to get a welcome boost at the end of this month.

The fund’s board is expected to declare a significant interest rate for its 70,000 members.

This means more money building up in their accounts for when they retire, or need other social security help.

National Provident Fund got a record SB$19.6 [US$2.8 million] million dividend from Our Telekom last week. The fund holds near 65 percent of the shares in Our Telekom.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Telekom Company Limited is a joint venture company among the Solomon Island's National Provident Fund, which holds 64.74 percent of the shares, and Cable & Wireless Plc of the United Kindom, which holds 32.58 percent of shares, and the Investment Corporation of the Solomon Islands, which owns 2.68 percent of the shares. ]

NPF General Manager Tony Makabo confirmed the significant dividend paid by Our Telekom will lead to a better interest rate for members compared to the past years.

Mr Makabo describes Our Telekom’s dividend as an excellent result. It enhances the income of the fund, and in turn the retirement and social security funds held on behalf of members.

The National Provident Fund invests money to boost the funds it holds.

Leading portfolios it has investments in include interest bearing deposits in commercial banks, Government securities, equity securities, Bank of South Pacific, Our Telekom and South Pacific Oil Ltd.

Mr Makabo said Our Telekom is a good business and generates a good return for its shareholders, including the NPF.

"We hope to maintain that level so that the interest trickles to the people at the end," the general manager told the Solomon Star.

When delivering the cheque to NPF last week, chairman of Our Telekom John Beverley said: "Our Telekom is a source of pride for the people of Solomon Islands."

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