#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 'FNPF symposium another farce'

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

'FNPF symposium another farce'

By Professor Wadan Narsey

The Bainimarama Military Regime will  this week put more nails in the FNPF coffin.

While they ruthlessly maintain a draconian media censorship, Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum will organize a charade of a “Symposium on The Future of FNPF”.  

There will be a panel discussion by “experts”, discussing recommendations by unknown and unaccountable consultants from IMF, World Bank, ILO, etc advocating changes to the FNPF structure, operations and pension rates.
The symposium will be used to ratify that the FNPF is not financially sustainable at the current pension rate of 15% (single) and must be reduced by a massive 40% to 9% (single).

It will also be encouraged to conclude that the contribution rate by employees should be increased from the current 16% of your wages and salary to perhaps 20%, as other model countries in the world such as Singapore practice.

But this “symposium” will all be a big farce, a pretence at “public consultation”, much like the Charter Charade organized by Bainimarama, John Samy and Petero Mataca.

We all know the Bainimarama Regime will make all the decisions.

The Bainimarama Regime will continue to hide all the reports that would reveal that they are themselves responsible for a large part of the mess that the FNPF is currently in.

The Bainimarama Regime will continue to milk the FNPF cow, which, with increased contributions and reduced payouts, will give them even more  of our savings to use ad misuse, however they wish.

You, the contributors to FNPF and the pensioners of FNPF, will have no choice in the matter.

With media censorship, you can't even publicly and freely discuss these massive changes to your pension fund.

But you could go and speak your mind at the Bainimarama/Khaiyum Symposium Charade this coming week.  Know the facts before you go.

Why the reduction in pension rate?
For several years now, there have been studies done by IMF, World Bank, ILO etc that argued that FNPF could not sustain the 15% single pension rate over the long term. And given the long term declining performance of the FNPF investments, the 15% pension rate may have been a little on the high side.  But we don’t know why.

For every FNPF management team and board for the last fifteen years (including the appointees by Rabuka, Chaudhry, Qarase and Bainimarama), have arrogantly refused to make these studies public.

The public will not know whether the data and the analysis are accurate, and whether the recommendations are justified.

But they should know two reasons why the pension rates are being recommended to go down as low as 9%: first, the economic stagnation over the last four years directly caused by the Bainimarama coup of 200; and second, FNPF’s disastrous investments and board decisions during the last four years of Bainimarama’s rule.

Bainimarama and his military officers, and all the coup collaborators, are partly to blame, for the planned reduction in pension rates.

When Bainimarama and his Fiji Military Forces (our former security guards) treasonously took over the country in 2006, they also took over the Fiji National Provident Fund.

Without any reference to you, the owners of the FNPF, they changed the senior management and the board. They appointed new board members to all the FNPF subsidiaries like ATH and its subsidiary companies. 

Some of these new board members made decisions which led to financial disasters such as the lost money through unwise loans and expenditure decisions at Natadola (more than $300 million?), Momi ($80 million?), GPH ($30 million?), FSC ($100 million?) and potentially other disasters such as at Tappoo City ($30 million?) and bad loans forced upon entities such as FDB.

How much is the Bainimarama Regime to blame?  We don’t know because they won’t release the reports on these financial disasters.

But we know for sure, the Bainimarama Military Regime has helped to destroy the sugar industry by turning down $300 million of EU aid available in 2006 for the sugar industry reform and restructuring, and badly managing an $100 million Indian loan for FSC mill refit, which resulted in even lower milling efficiency.

We know that the Bainimarama regime has for five years freely run massive budget deficits because of huge over-expenditure on the military itself, all funded by increasing the Public Debt, largely financed with enforced loans from FNPF at low rates of interest (around 5% at the margin).

We also know that a few months ago, Bainimarama and Khaiyum, with the irresponsible complicity of ANZ,  showed their financial skills by proudly borrowing $500 million in foreign bonds at 9% while turning down an IMF loan at 2% (Yang, the IMF rep in Fiji stated there were very few conditions).

We know that with investments drying up because of Bainimarama’s arbitrary Military Decrees, there has been minimal economic growth, minimal job creation, minimal new contributors to the FNPF.

The lack of economic growth has also meant that there are few bankable projects in the private sector for FNPF to lend to.

Instead, the FNPF has been forced by the Reserve Bank to bring back its income earning foreign investments, with the lost income going through the RBF into the control of the Military Government.

On the other side, the outgoings from the FNPF have been increasing not only because of pension or lump sums to be paid to those retiring, but also because of withdrawals by members for education and health reasons, due to increased hardship.

For many years the FNPF Annual Report used to state that their target earnings rate was 2 percentage points above the rate of inflation. 

That statement is not made any more in the FNPF Annual Reports, because they have failed to achieve their target (what a pathetic management tactic: when you fail to achieve your KPIs, get rid of your KPIs!).

Indeed, for this year, the rate of inflation may be as high as 7% while the FNPF average return is less than 6%.  Our FNPF savings are going backwards.

As we have been warning since 2006, the FNPF is in deep trouble.

No transparency, no accountability
The FNPF Annual Reports, signed by the FNPF Board and senior management all claim to be transparent and accountable to the FNPF Members.

What a pack of lies.

For more than three years now, I have asked FNPF management to make available the reports by WB, IMF, ILO and other recent consultants, or the recent reports on the financial mismanagement of the investments at Natadola and Momi. 

They have all bluntly refused- they are simply afraid to lose their jobs.

The Bainimarama/Khaiyum Regime will not tolerate any transparency or accountability of the FNPF to the public, whatever are the lies they propagate in their People’s Charter.

Just as they refuse to make public the Annual Auditor General’s Reports on the military government’s expenditure and revenues over the last five years; or to allow an audit of the Regimental Funds; or to explain why they are paying themselves more than half a million in salaries each through a private accounting firm.

Coup costs usually out of sight
When an economy suffers because of a military coup, it is difficult to identify and quantify the costs, especially when the economy recovers pretty quickly, as in 1987 and 2000. 

But the economy has not recovered after the 2006 coup. Our 2011 GDP, even if we to manage the projected 2.8% growth this year, will just about recover to our GDP in 2006.

We have therefore lost four years of economic growth, costing us anywhere between $1 billion to $2 billion, not even including the huge losses in property values.

The banks know that many businesses, big and small, are struggling; FIRCA is struggling to increase revenues, despite the increase in VAT; many government ministries like  education and health are struggling to maintain their budgets; and there is little money available to fix up roads, water and sewerage.

Some may point to the increased numbers of beggars in the streets, despite official efforts to keep them out of sight; or the increased numbers of suicides and attempted suicides, or increased incidence of mental health problems.

But these costs are very difficult to quantify and relate to the 2006 coup.

But costs to FNPF are now clear
This week, we FNPF contributors and pensioners (including coup supporters) will see very clearly how the military coup by Bainimarama and his supporters, are harming us.

Single pension rates will be reduced from 15% to 9%; double pension rates will be reduced from 12% to 7%.

This reduction in pensions will harm all civil servants, including all the treasonous military officers and soldiers who have conveniently forgotten their oaths of office, and blindly supported Bainimarama and his coup while enjoying their ill-gotten gains.

Existing pensioners (including coup supporters) will also know that their current pension rates will be reduced and capped: they can weep and wail all they like that FNPF signed and sealed a legal agreement with them, when they retired.

But evil people who can treasonously remove a lawfully elected government can also change the conditions of any legal contract: all they need is another military decree signed by the illegal immoral Military President, who many times has sworn sacred oaths on the Bible, to protect the people of Fiji.

We should know by now, that our basic human rights, such as the protection by law, freedom of speech and assembly, all mean nothing to Bainimarama, Khaiyum, Nailitikau, the military officers and illegal ministers in an illegal Military Government.

We should know by now that our basic human rights also mean nothing to the dozens of prominent businessmen, clergy, professionals, social leaders, and all the coup supporters and collaborators who have helped to legitimate and keep the Bainimarama Regime in power since 2006.

We should known by now that the softening by our traditional donors and Australian “think tanks” towards the Bainimarama Regime is driven by their worries about China  displacing them in the Pacific, not so much our own welfare.

We are all on our own.  We can watch our FNPF be gutted.

Do we owners of FNPF, who have never protested against this evil regime, we who have continued to socialize and tolerate all the coup collaborators and supporters, deserve what we get?

Adam Smith’s selfishness not good for Fiji
In economics, there has been a very strong idea, originating from Adam Smith more than two hundred years ago, that if every individual acted selfishly in his own self interest, the free market economy will perform efficiently, to the ultimate benefit of everyone in the economy.

This principle is totally wrong in Fiji’s politics and society today.

It is abundantly clear that many of our people understand the evil consequences of this Bainimarama coup for Fiji and its people.

It is clear that they say nothing and do nothing, because they think it is in their self-interest not to do so, in case they are personally victimized by the Bainimarama regime.

But if we all behave selfishly and refuse to oppose the treasonous Bainimarama coup; if all our military and police officers accept and obey their treasonous, illegal and immoral superiors;  if we all live in our business, professional, religious, social, and sports boxes and refuse to confront and ostracize the coup supporters and collaborators amongst us; then the resulting Fiji is going to be a nightmare for our citizens, especially the poorest among us.

Adam Smith’s advocacy of individual selfishness is proving to be disastrous for our FNPF, and for Fiji.

What options?
Who knows?  Perhaps even at this late stage in our demise as a free people, we might want to go to the FNPF Symposium Charade being organised by the Bainimarama/Khaiyum Regime and:

1) Demand the public release of all the reports by IMF, WB, ILO and recent independent consultants;

2) Demand the release of all the reports on the investigation into the investments at Natadola,  Momi, etc

3) Demand that the majority of the FNPF Board Members must be democratically elected by the current FNPF contributors and with pensioners having separate elected representation.

4) Demand that the Chairman of the Board must be from these elected Members and definitely not some foreigner as currently.
  
5) Demand that any decision on changes to the FNPF must be made by the elected Board and not the current Board and Management.

6) Demand that FNPF must be allowed to invest as much of its funds abroad as is prudently advisable and that RBF must recompense FNPF for all the lost earnings because of foreign investments brought back.

7)        Demand that the FNPF management swear oaths of allegiance to the real owners of the Fund- you the contributors and the pensioners, and not to a treasonous Military Government;

Also part of our struggle to regain our basic human rights, also

8)       Publish the full list of coup collaborators and supporters in Fiji and abroad, so that all FNPF contributors and pensioners can see who are collectively responsible, with Bainimarama and Khaiyum, for the massive blows to our pension fund;

9)       Start teaching our children to not take part in the daily charade by treasonous people illegally pretending to be  Prime Ministers, Ministers, Attorney General, President, and First Ladies, etc.

10)     Call on Australia and NZ to take sanctions against all their citizens who have supported the treasonous military coup in Fiji and the continuing plunder of the tax-payers of Fiji,  and the gutting of our FNPF.

11)       Appeal to those current and former military officers who have retained any vestige of allegiance to their military oaths, honor, ethics, and patriotism, to call on Bainimarama and his ministers to resign from government and give it back to civilian rule, immediately, not in 2014.

If we continue to remain docile and quiet under oppression, we deserve everything we get, while condemning our children to a bleak future.

43 comments:

mark manning said...

I can only feel grief for the Fijians and their Children and their Grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wadan. It's the "Adam Smith Selfish Philosophy" that caused the chaos of the Sub-Prime Mortgage which eventually started the Global Financial Crisis.
Even America which susbscribed to this philosophy still hasn't recovered. Anyway their government has brought in new laws to try and control this "selfishness".
There is no place for it in any society, including Fiji.
As far as we are concerned I don't think the Sotia ni solisona have enough brains to run a Beancart, much less make it profitable.
Even now they are doing "kerekere" with the Asian Development Bank.

Who will pay for all this "dinau"?

NCD said...

I have one question.

Due to lifestyle diseases (NCD), a lot of people in Fiji don't even reach 55 of age. In a sense, I understand that the FNPF is "saving" money in the long run because of that.

If, on top of that, the need to reduce pensions, then something is really wrong...

Anonymous said...

VINAKA DOCTOR NARSEY.
WELL SAID.WE THE PEOPLE OF FIJI HAVE TO WAKE UP NOW.
THESE AG/PM/CRONIES WILL TAKE OUR FNPF LIKE SVT TOOK THE NBF.BANK.
WE NEED THE ELECTED GOVT BACK ASAP.
THIS PM/AG HAVE LIED TO THE PUBLIC OF FIJI.
ALL PROMISED WORD IS A LIE.
WE HATE THEM.
PLS FMF PERSONAL WAKE UP NOW HELP THE PUBLIC BEFORE FIJI BECOME ANOTHER UGANDA,
MY HEART CRIES OUT FOR OUR BELOVED PEOPLE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE.OUR CHIEFS/VANUA/LOTU,
MAY GOD BLESS AND GIVE POWER TO US TO THOW THESE IDIOT AG/PM/CRONIES IN PRISON.

Mathew Mark Luke John said...

Check out Crooker and Straight Thinking by Robert H. Thouless 1st Ed before reading anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_and_Crooked_Thinking

Page 22 Last Paragraph

" When we turn to political and international thinking, we are further from straight scientific thinking.

Such words as evil, progress, liberty, democracy fascist, racist, liberal, terrorist and many others are used in political thinking and communication is such a way that they carry more of emotional than of factual meaning.

So long as words so used are the ordinary terms of rival politicians, how can we hope to think straight in national and international affairs?

Anonymous said...

Some (if not all)of the best military officers have left Delainabua. That giant of a colonel from the highlands and others who have joined UN and other forces - those were officers and, gentlemen. The call on the current officers to do something? Please. Not those potbellied, giftpacked promoted bunch of yessirees.

Anonymous said...

To my knowledge the Tapoo building is a 50/50 between Tappoo and FNPF. It was budgeted at $18m and ended up costing $38m. The contracted building company is /was owned by Tapoo. I wonder what the head rent is on this building and whether it will ever get paid off. I think there is a Wikileaks in this story some where. I suspect that one partner in this deal got their money back already, but who knows?

Keep The Faith said...

Another outstanding perspective by Prof Narsey.

But will it get through is the question.

Matavesi said...

Thank you Prof Narsey for enlightening us. God bless you

Pople Power said...

Agreed: The Jenny Haywards, the Lowy Institute and the likes of the AFP Liberal deputy leader, Julie Bishop, are pressing for the region to ease up on the regime because of their inate fear we're moving out of their power zone. They don't care about us, it's about maintaining their own power base. C4.5 add them to the coup apologist list.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Narsey i salute you for having the foresight and the balls to write like you do. I also read with interest your article in the Fiji times on Saturday about the "ownership of our money". I have felt the same way for many years and despise the fact that the citizens of Fiji are always made to pay for the incompetence of successive governments. The fact is the Fiji Citizen is the football of people like Rabuka, Chaudhary Frank etc. We get kicked around for their screw-up. The sad reality is that the common people are so preoccupied with counting the differences between people they forget that at the end of the day our similarities as human beings are more then the differences and therefore our need to have a good government running our country is far greater then any petty prejudices. We have to unite to achieve this and stay united as fellow country men to steer the country towards a better future.

Anonymous said...

I pray that God will continue to keep Dr Narsey and his family safe from these goons.

THank you for such a great article!

Anonymous said...

Lets all join Dr Narsey and start our mission to disband this idiots

Semi Meo said...

This article by the astute Dr brings to light once again what we common folks have known all these years, and haven’t the guts to speak out due to “ veirokorokovi kei vei vakaturagataki”. Yep..that none..not one single successive Fiji Government have been honest with our money.

Would have been enlightening for Dr to also back track to over spendings ( and pensions schemes )of the “kila vata” taxi operators in Ratu Mara/Ratu Cakobau Government.

This kind of reality checks by the Dr on where we are in this journey towards democratic resurrection should be encouraged.

Now the ball is the Aiyuz/Bainimarama Government court to respond accordingly to release the “studies” and decree favorably towards interests of us tax payers…we believe they would.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! Vinaka saka vakalevu Professor Narsey for this piece and being the voice of courage and wisdom. There is so much respect for you and your consistent stance throughout this impasse.

One has to wonder though at the so-called pro-democracy ousted bolly-ticians who cower in the sidelines and wait for others like the brave Professor to stick their necks out and fight the fight they should all be fighting alongside him.. instead of immersing themselves in useless nitpicking blah blah nonsense... i guess tis tat reaall problem of having SOILED, UNCLEAN HANDS perhaps..? LOLS...

As for sly Manning, his attempt at being sympathetic on the good Professor's thread, sounds as hollow, fake and cheap as the nonsense he spews out daily on some of these blogsites.. LOLS...

mark manning said...

It's my understanding that Mr. Qarase and a handful of other fijians started the FNPF many years ago as a young Banker or Employee of the Development Bank in Fiji.
I and also of the understanding that his Government borrowed from the FNPF to establish Developments in Fiji, for Fijians and with Fijians money, a stark contrast to the Regime who has squandered hundreds of millions and decimated to near total destruction, the FNPF and the hopes of thousands of Fijians to a comfortable self funded retirement.

It was wise to borrow from yourselves, pay yourselves back, with interest, and to develop in your own Country, using your own labour force and creating Training opportunities amongst Fijians, while at the same time, developing good Business sense and good governance within the Fijian Community.

This is avast contrast to what Frank and Co. have done to the Fijian Economy and Community.

Can anyone in Fiji explain to me the difference between Mr.Qarase's Economic record and the Regime's ?

Back door benny naliva said...

Well done narsey. Bend those slow thinking military thugs over and give them another back door benny naliva!!

mark manning said...

http://www.grubsheet.com.au/

Anonymous said...

I would just like to congratulate the good doctor for the very well researched,balanced and simply presented account of what is really happening with our money at FNPF that the military regime think they can use and squander like it was part of the regimental fund.
Thank you doctor for the courage that you show.Your name will undoubtedly be long remembered as one of the few guiding lights during this dark part of Fiji's history.
May God bless you and your family.

Tui Viti said...

@ Semi Meo....do you still have funds with FNPF??

mark manning said...

@ Tui
Semi used to, but now they are only worth a fraction of their original value, in fact, he owes the fund money ! lols
What a bunch of drongos these coup supporters are.

Seen it before.... said...

Anyone needing verification of this gangs gross finacial incompetence need look no further than the shambles that is FSC?

Striker said...

Number 10 is easy one to do. Some of the people that should be busted have already been outed and we've been talking about them for ages: they on that coup apologist list. This would be much better than a petition. People, listen to WN, he's on to it.

Semi Meo said...

@Tui Viti..you again madam, could not tell your gender as is very feminine at times, Adi Viti..I am a citizen of beloved Fiji..have been, and ever will be..unlike some Busy bodies Alien who do not even have any idea of the what we are talking about.

..kai ya, na qala??

Peter said...

So Professor is a 15% pension factor sustainable or not? Of course a Scheme where you effectively get all your contributions back in less than 7 years, after which you are living off the contributions of others, is unsustainable. These changes should have been made years ago. Did you read the April 15 edition of The Economist?...”70 or bust! Why the retirement age must go up”. Pension funds all over the world are currently being re-structured. FNPF is no different. The Govt has the guts to do something which is critical for the long term viability of the Fund but will be politically unpopular. And your comment “that RBF must recompense FNPF for all the lost earnings because of foreign investments brought back.” obviously ignores that if this had not occurred there would have been greater losses as a result of the GFC share market crashes! Fortuitous but nevertheless it’s doubtful there were any opportunity losses.

Anonymous said...

7TH MAY ANON 825PM THIS GOVT DANCES TO TAPOOS TUNES

kahuna said...

@ Peter

I think you have are missing the crux of Mr Narsey's piece. FNPF's symposium is supposedly to:

"[E]nsure that there is better governance and transparency in the handling of member funds and investments." - Fiji Sun 5/6/11

Yet, they are deliberately undermining it. You have a valid point, that the Fund has to restructure to remain sustainable.

But our poor FNPF is not like "Pension funds all over the world...". Instead, it has had to suffer with the "[E]conomic stagnation over the last four years directly caused by the Bainimarama coup of 2006..." and its own "[D]isastrous investments and board decisions during the last four years of Bainimarama’s rule."

Cutting the single pension interest from 15% to 7% is one thing. The reasons why it's being done, I believe, is more pertinent.

Anonymous said...

@Peter. May be FNPF should invest in Chinese stock market.

Anonymous said...

Mark you should not be commenting on things you dont know nothing about. The FNPF was the idea of the late AD PATEL and the organization was set up a long time before the likes of Qarase could wipe their bums correctly.

So please stay with things you know about.

paula raqeukai said...

...thank-you Dr WN for revealing the TRUTH because the TRUTH will set the people of Fiji FREE...hopefully..the most important thing now is to tell the TRUTH at all the time....EVEN AT THIS TIME WHEN TOTAL MEDIA BAN IS IN PLACE....

BUT WE MUST LOVE OUR ENEMIES AT ALL THE TIME AS THE BIBLE SAID: Luke 6:27-28 "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU, AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO MISTREAT YOU..."

GOD BLESS FIJI AND FNPF

Semi Meow said...

Semi Pussy owes FNPF, and he has yet to pay up.

mark manning said...

@ anon 548 am
As I said, " it's my understanding " I never said that I was correct ! 1965 wasn't it ?
As for not commenting on things, if Frank and Aiyaz can, then so can I !
It's called Democracy where I live !
What about where you live ?

Anonymous said...

@Peter, Retirement ages are going up in other developing countries because life expectancy is going up, where as in Fiji it maybe just out of reach for your average Fijian.

Semi Meo said...

@ the coward posting,May 9, 2011 9:41 AM.

My contributions assited build a home in my village...oh...I enjoyed a bit of it..mmm...I might just borrow from FNPF like Tapoos and others..

Anonymous said...

@mark manning

The FNPF was started by Hon AD Patel in colonial days. He was like a minister, as was Ratu Mara.

The system allowed members of different races and parties to work together. Ironically, it was like the Qarase multi-party government.

Anonymous said...

Thank Warden for saying like it is. Now more then ever we need more people like you to stand up and speak the truth.

Anonymous said...

Semi Meo has nothing to say on this issue cause he is a big time looser..he has suddenly become the faceless bastard..

Semi Meo said...

@A-NUNI-MOSI May 9,2011 10:23PM..oh..you must have forgotten the unwritten rule of this esteemed column..

"All you write, wish, curse or bless will boomerang to you ten times over the velocity or tranquility, which ever suits…"

So GOD BLESS YOU .. oh..cannot do that as the intended blessings will ..be like throwing pearls to the swinie pigs.ok..we will take it back, thank you!!

Again we say " Now the ball is the Aiyuz/Bainimarama Government court to respond accordingly to release the “studies” and decree favorably towards interests of us tax payers…we believe they would."

Anonymous said...

@ Semi....when will they release the studies you talkin about,it's being 5 years now bro...

Semi Meow said...

That's the problem with Semi Meow, he's 5 years behind.

Anonymous said...

The current FNPF Chairman is not only a foreigner, he is also the representative of a foreign government in Fiji as Sri Lanka's honourary consul.

He therefore can't serve two masters, by looking after the national interests of two different countries at the same time. These interests are in every likelihood to be competing interests.

This clealy is a breach of Fiji's national and security interests. FICAC, and the Police's NIB should investigate and take action to stop the leakage of Fiji's national secrets to the Sri Lankans.

Mark said...

This is worse than what the Tongans did.....

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