Economist Professor Wadan Narsey says the Fiji National Provident Fund could be receiving another $300-$400 million annually in contributions if there was a better enforcement of the FNPF rules and the Board needs to be changed to one that is responsive to gender issues and to public interest.
While speaking during the launch of the Beyond 33%: The Economic Empowerment of Fiji Women and Girls report, Professor Narsey also says workers lost about $300 million because the FNPF contribution was reduced.
He claims the Board Chairman and the board had members of people who had vested interests in this because they are employers and he did not hear any protests from the Chairman that the financial interests of the contributors were being harmed.
Professor Narsey says if FNPF lost $300 million over the last two years and multiply by compound interest of 1.05 percent per year, in 20 years time it would have amounted to more than $1 billion.
He further says there needs to be more women members on the board.
Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Prasad says Professor Narsey is absolutely correct to make some of those suggestions.
He says the decision to reduce FNPF contributions for employers and employees by the previous government was ill thought out.
He says the coalition parties had promised before the elections that they will be bringing back employer and employee representation on the FNPF Board and have now appointed the nominee from the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Attar Singh and businessman Joe Taoi.
The Deputy Prime Minister says when the terms of the other board members expire or when they resign, then they would be making further changes.
Professor Prasad says he does not wish to blame the Chairman, Daksesh Patel as he came in after a number of critical decisions were made with respect to investments with private-public partnership and management of Lautoka and Ba Hospitals.
He says the Fund exists for the benefit of the members and the coalition government is going to ensure the interest of members of the Fund is upheld and any investment decision and the operation of the FNPF Board is in the interest of the members. He further says he agrees with Professor Narsey and as a government he is acutely aware of the importance of representation of women on boards.
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