Fiji Labour Party
I refer to FNPF’s response to my article on reversing the pension cuts arbitrarily enforced by the Fund on its members in 2012 (Fiji Sun 1/2/14 ). The reply evades the real issues and hides behind the decades old reports of the ILO, IMF and the World Bank. Indeed, these reports were acted upon when the annuity rate was gradually cut from 25 per cent to 15 per cent. There was no need to go any further.
The Fiji Labour Party does not survive on cheap political propaganda, as alleged by the FNPF Board. It won the mandate of the people twice to govern the country, but was not given the opportunity to run its full term by vested interest groups. It was the last Labour-led government which in 2000 increased the rate of FNPF contribution from 7 per cent to 8 per cent and introduced a number of measures to assist members of the Fund.
Let it be understood that the Party is well versed in superannuation matters and has the requisite expertise to make sound judgments. We are not appointees of a regime without the mandate of the people. For the record, FLP made comprehensive submissions to the Fund in 2011, fully supported by facts and figures and alternatives, to demonstrate that there was absolutely no need to throttle the members of the Fund to achieve its misguided objective when there were other more sensible ways of dealing with the issue.
We received no response. FLP reiterates that the Fund was never in any real danger of collapse as made out by the scaremongers who were bent on penalising the vast majority of pensioners at the lower end of the scale. It is unfortunate that FNPF has chosen, in its reply, to question our ability to make sound financial decisions.
Let it be known that the Fiji Labour Party led coalition government of 1999/2000 posted the best financial results and economic growth figures ever achieved by any government in Fiji. We did not fritter away $700 million of members’ funds in questionable investments – a point on which the Fund’s reply is deafeningly silent! It makes no sense for the Fund to boast a net surplus of $293 million in 2013 after writing down asset values by around $450 million in the preceding two years. The FLP is serious about reversing the impositions of the regime regarding pensions and given the opportunity, it will prove its point. However, this debate cannot be settled through the news media. I invite the representatives of the Fund to a public debate on the subject. Let the people decide.