National Provident Fund moves to Increase Minimum Contributions to 10%

PHOTO: The SNPF General Manager, Pauli Prince Suhren

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 18 APRIL 2019: The Samoa National Provident Fund (SNPF) is taking the first increase to the contributor’s minimum contribution on the 1st July 2019.

It will be the first annual 1% increase over the next three years to bring the minimum contribution to 10% by 2012.

The current rate is 7% and goes up to 8% in July this year.

The SNPF General Manager, Pauli Prince Suhren said the primary purpose of the increase is securing a quality future and living for the people and members when they retire at 55.

“They can take out a lump sum of their entire contribution that they have accumulated throughout their working lives, or decided to take up a life time pension, but that is entirely up to them as well,” said Pauli.

“We understand it will affect take home pay of employees and also has a market impact on employers and their cost, but what’s to be noted is that this is to be considered as an investment in the future of our people and members,” said Pauli.

He said all funds generated from this initiative go back to the members.

“SNPF has had a consistent record of paying on average about 7.2% per annum of return back to its members every year and last year we paid a record 10% back to the members,” he said.

The SNPF Building in downtown Apia

Last year SNPF paid $53 million to its members and according to Pauli, it was a worthwhile and significant contribution in stimulating economic growth in the country and they will continue on that track.

“The Fund allows us to provide more flexible options for lending to our members, something that you don’t find at other superannuation around the world,” said Pauli.

SNPF currently has over 80,000 plus contributors.

The increase has been criticized for its impact on workers and employers and SNPF has discussed the issue with the Chamber of Commerce.

“We had a cautious meeting, went smoother than portrayed in the media and the Chamber understands our position,” said Pauli.

He said the key outcome of the meeting was the emphasis of NPF stance on the increase which may come as something beyond their members’ ability to cope with.

“We have already notified Chamber that SNPF have schemes that will assist to lessen the impact come July,” said Pauli.

He said SNPF understand where the Chambers is coming from with regards to the business community and additional cost for them, but it can be a positive aspect if businesses look at it as an investment.