February 29, 2016
MEDIA RELEASE: NFP WELCOMES FNPF RELAXATION OF DISASTER-RELATED WITHDRAWALS
The National Federation Party welcomes the decision by the Board of Fiji National Provident Fund to relax conditions for disaster-related withdrawals following devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston.
On Wednesday February 24, 2016, we had urged the FNPF not to impose stringent withdrawal conditions because of the immediate need for basic necessities of families ravaged by the cyclone. We had also called on FNPF to allow members not affected by the cyclone or residing outside of the disaster declared areas to be allowed to withdraw funds from their savings at the Fund and assist their immediate families like parents, siblings and other relatives who have never been members of FNPF.
They are mainly agricultural and sugarcane farmers, farm labourers, cane-cutters, villagers and many others who have worked throughout their lives solely to ensure their children and other blood relatives are educated and earn decent livelihood by securing paid employment in urban centres.
We are glad that the FNPF has allowed members in non-disaster declared areas to withdraw a sum of $1000.00 and help their relatives. This sum, albeit small, will nevertheless help relatives to meet their basic needs as they start rebuilding their lives and ultimately overcome this adversity.
Therefore FNPF’s decision to heed our request that was made on humanitarian grounds is most welcome.
FNPF can further alleviate the plight of those who have lost their homes by allowing all members not affected by the cyclone to withdraw $5000.00 to help their immediate relatives rebuild their homes.
This should be facilitated provided any member provides evidence of destruction of the home and his/her link to the relative or simply meets the requirements for the $5000 assistance outlined by FNPF. This is similar to members in disaster declared areas.
This request is not unreasonable because the planned rebuilding of standard homes for which tenders have been called for by Government is a long-term plan, therefore this scheme would enable them to rebuild a basic structure.