COVID-19 Queried Applications Cause Delay

A total of $25 million has been paid to 36,499 FNPF members that have applied for the FNPF COVID-19 withdrawal scheme, with $3.0 million paid by Government and $22 million paid by the Fund.

Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi says that 65,800 applications have been received from members, which is equivalent to 93% of the total withdrawals made in the last financial year.

“We have paid out some 56% of applications received and we have a target to clear another 25,000 this week, inclusive of approximately 8,600 applications that were received before 16 April”, Mr Koroi said.

“We continue to seek members’ patience and understanding of the delays and also reassure members that we will pay all members as soon as practical. It is definitely not because of cash flow but we want to ensure that proper procedures are maintained on your withdrawals.”

Whilst there is progressive improvement to its processing, the Fund is also faced with the arduous task of rectifying 3,700 applications that are on queried status.

“We have a dedicated team looking into all queried applications as it is one of the main reasons as to why some applications are delayed further”, Mr Koroi stated.

Applications are queried due to any of the following reasons:

1. form not fully completed by the member

2. employer’s stamp or signature or both is missing

3. required documents not submitted by the member or employer or both

4. wrong form filled by the member

“Members whose applications are queried are being contacted by our team and for those that continue to be unreachable, the Fund will publish their names in the media at the end of this week so we can have them come forward to rectify the query”, Mr Koroi said.

The Fund has also been actively working with all banks for verification of member’s bank accounts, before any approval or payment is done. This is due to the relaxation of the bank statement requirement.

TC Harold withdrawals continue

The Fund has received around 300 applications for Tropical Cyclone Harold withdrawal scheme. It has paid out a total of $141,000 to 112 members.

“The TC Harold scheme is targeting only those members whose homes were damaged and also reside in areas that were declared a natural disaster area by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO)”, Mr Koroi stated.

The Fund is working closely with the NDMO and District/Provincial Offices to verify which members were affected by the cyclone. FNPF inspectors then visit the affected areas to issue the FNPF Natural Disaster Forms, which is also collected on-site.

FNPF publishes its inspection schedule in the newspapers, broadcasted on radio and is also posted on the Funds social media sites.

Members who have missed out on the inspections have been requested to provide their details to their nearest District Office.

The Fund is also aware of members that have taken to the media to publicise their frustration on the Fund, its processes and requirements.

“We understand that our members are in a difficult position and we have even gone to the extent of relaxing some of our requirements, however, we will not compromise our processes”

“We are governed by our legislation and policies that protects the long term interest of the member. FNPF is here for our member’s retirement and we request that they be mindful of any withdrawal as it leads to the depletion of their retirement funds”, Mr Koroi explains.