Fund Extends Membership to Six Year Olds

The Fiji National Provident Fund will open its membership to children as young as 6 years old from Monday, 4 February 2019.

The Minor Voluntary Scheme allows children to earn compounded interest on their savings; enabling them to accumulate and grow these at a faster rate with zero fees and no taxes.

Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi said the decision to extend membership to children is part of the Fund’s plan to extend its social security agenda to allow Fijians who are excluded from the compulsory savings scheme to also save for retirement, especially the younger generation.

“The biggest advantage is that children can now start saving even before they work. FNPF was established for workers, but now we can encourage the young to start saving for retirement much earlier”, says Mr Koroi.

The age eligibility for membership into the Voluntary Scheme has been reduced from 16 years to 6 years and allows Fiji Citizens up to 54 years old to sign up for this scheme.

Anyone who is not employed by a registered employer can also join as a voluntary member.

This means that market vendors, taxi drivers, domestic workers, farmers, operators of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) as well as students (6 years+) are potential voluntary members.

In addition, members who had fully withdrawn their funds under migration, marriage and medical incapacitation, and are below 54 years old, can also sign up as re-entrant voluntary members but only once.

Any minor or member, below the age of 18, will need to be registered by a parent or guardian; who also assume the role as Administrator of the account until the minor turns 18 years.

The fee required to open a new Voluntary Membership account is $10 and the minimum monthly contribution payment is also $10.

The maximum deposit allowed for a financial year is $200,000 with any transaction over $10,000 to be reported to the Fiji Intelligence Unit to prevent any intention of money laundering.

Contributions paid are then split into the Preserved and General accounts – with 70% preserved for retirement and 30% deposited in the member’s general account to cater for early withdrawal assistance.

“The Fund is a key player in the Fijian economy and is involved in various development projects that are focused on providing social security for its members,” said Mr. Koroi.

“These changes to the voluntary scheme are part of our strategies to offer financial security and independence to many Fijians who do not have retirement savings.”

“Voluntary members will also be able to access pre-retirement assistance and other benefits that are offered to compulsory members like education and medical assistance, amongst others.”

“Ultimately, we want our members to retire comfortably and this scheme reaches those members who are part of the informal work sector, enabling them to also save for a meaningful retirement.”

The changes to the scheme are also effective from 4th February, 2019.

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