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How Pacific Pension Systems can improve their social protection role will be the key topic for discussion in the region's first workshop titled 'Strengthening Pension Systems and Health Coverage in the Pacific' next week in Suva.

In an effort to address additional challenges faced by public pension systems in the region, the Fiji National Provident Fund and the Asian Development Bank will jointly host a two-day workshop at the Grand Pacific Hotel on 2 to 3 November as part of both institutions celebrating their respective 50th Anniversaries.

The Asian Development Bank with the support from the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute in San Francisco, USA and other development partners intend to raise awareness on issues affecting the performance of Pacific retirement funds, with a view to strengthening the financial position of these funds so that they can, in time, provide retirement incomes to contributors through their retirement.

In line with the Fund's celebration of its 50th Anniversary, this workshop presents FNPF the opportunity to engage stakeholders and Pacific partners to initiate discussions on how retirement funds could provide health insurance to its members and their dependents as an avenue to strengthen their social security role.

The forum will bring together senior executives of retirement schemes as well as regulators to actively participate in discussions on key issues confronting the Pacific pensions community with the hope that this forum provides the impetus for ongoing collaboration between Pacific regulators of pension funds.

The Attorney General and Minister for Economy, the Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, 2 November.

The two-day event include topical sessions such as 'Old Age Poverty, Social Protection Systems and Pensions Finance', 'Governance, Law and Regulations' together with case studies from Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands, 'Regulating Provident Funds and Retirement Funds', 'Pacific Pension Systems: Options for Reforms', 'A Pacific Example – Fiji National Provident Fund Pension Scheme', and 'Health Insurance Scheme Design: Setting the Framework'.

The exciting program features distinguished panelists including some CEOs of Pacific superannuation and pension funds; Ganeshan Wignaraja, Advisor from ADB; Sri Wening Handayani, Principal Social Development Specialist from ADB; Mr Peter Dirou, Senior Financial Sector Expert from the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, and Ms Vilimaina Dakai, Chief Manager Financial Institutions from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

The Media is invited to cover only the Official Opening of the program on Wednesday, 2 November from 9am to 11am at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.

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