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Government calls on external consultants for advice

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 21, 2010) - A major review of the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) Act is imminent to accommodate a spate of significant changes taking place at the pension fund.

This was confirmed by FNPF chief executive officer Aisake Taito, in an update on the reform that the organization is currently undertaking.

"Public notices on the review of the Act will be published soon," he said.

The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) operates Fiji’s only public savings scheme through compulsory contribution from workers and employers on behalf of their employees.

It has constantly struggled with being Fiji’s major financial player, with total assets of over FJ$3 billion [US$1.6 billion] and regulatory restrictions preventing it from investing offshore, it is challenged by a small domestic investment market.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Voreqe Bainimarama had announced a major reform of the fund in his 2010 national budget delivered last November, which has already begun with a visit here of experts from Singapore last week.

"Consultants from the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) were in the country to undertake the first phase of the review. The team was led by the former Deputy General Manager of the Central Provident Fund (CPF), Mr. Chay Yee," Taito said.

"The SCE consultants also met with the FNPF Board, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), the Permanent Secretaries for the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance and Public Service Commission; and other external stakeholders. A preliminary report on their findings will be submitted next month," he added.

As part of this review, a follow-up meeting with senior management of the RBF and the Fund will be held in Singapore next month to study how CPF works.

"CPF is a leading superannuation provider, and we hope to gain valuable insights from them, to enable the Fund to benchmark facets of our work. We recognize that we will need to tailor-make our processes to meet our business needs and the local environment, which would be conducive to the Fund’s objective as a pension savings scheme" Taito said.

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