Fiji Pensioners Launch Website to Inform Public on Cutbacks
Fiji Pensioners Launch Website to Inform Public about Cutbacks
SUVA - Fiji's pensioners launched a website today to make information available about the government's intention to cut their superannuation payments by two thirds. The website can be accessed at fijipensioners.com or savefijipensions.com.
All workers in Fiji compulsorily belong to the Fiji National Provident Fund and all employers compulsorily contribute to each worker member's account. No other superannuation schemes were permitted after the FNPF was established in the 1960s.
When FNPF members retire, they can take their savings in a lump sum, but an excellent "pension" payment was offered to encourage people to leave the bulk of their funds and take monthly payments. The FNPF was responsible for making sound investments with the members' contribution money.
Under pressure from previous governments, the FNPF board, which is charged with looking after the members' interests, was pressured into a series of unwise investments that have lost many millions of dollars.
About three months ago, the FNPF management announced that the pensions were to be cut by two-thirds, even though the FNPF pension is a superannuation payment, and not a state pension.
The cut in payments would plunge many pensioners into poverty, at an age where they have few alternatives for earning income.
A 70-year-old pensioner, David Burness, and a group of others have begun a class action to take the matter to court, while the government has delayed the decree to cut the pensions, originally due on 1 July, to September.
The government and FNPF have access to the media and have made statements and placed advertisements accusing those objecting to the cut in superannuation of being merely "self interested".
However, media censorship is still operating in Fiji and has prevented the FNPF members from giving statements and information about the severe disadvantages and injustices current and future pensioners face, leaving many in ignorance.
They have launched the website as a means of informing people about the situation.