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Fijians working in the informal sector have been encouraged to join the FNPF's Voluntary Scheme, introduced in 1970 to cater for those that are not in formal employment.

The Fund's Chief Operating Officer Mr Jaoji Koroi said the scheme is an excellent avenue to allow more Fijians to save for retirement.

"The scheme encourages a culture of savings and save for retirement. At a time when our social structures such as old-age support is weakening, we need to seriously consider saving for a secure income in retirement so we can be financially independent," he said.

"For example, this is an opportune time for yaqona farmers that are enjoying the high price of yaqona to register for this scheme. The same applies for those who are raking in a good income from their various farming or small business ventures."

The total number of Voluntary membership with positive balances totalled 8,749.

"We have noticed that many of our members registered under the scheme are inconsistent with their payments. We hope that members can reconsider their payment plans and also consider that the minimum payable for voluntary account is $7 per month.

"If you are thinking to join the Voluntary Scheme it is important to ask yourself these questions; why do I want to become a Voluntary member, how much will I strive to contribute every month, how will I ensure that I contribute every month." said Mr Koroi.

"Registering as a Voluntary member is easy enough but maintaining the monthly contributions to ensure that there is continuous growth in your funds is critical."

"Voluntary members are extended the same benefits as compulsory members so they too get paid the interest that is declared every financial year."

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