Why did the FNPF not consult its members?

Political party leaders have expressed concern over why the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) has not consulted its members over its acquisition of 30.02% of Fiji Airways.

They made the comment after the fund’s managing director, Viliame Vodonaivalu, yesterday told the media that ‘they don’t go to the market to talk about their intentions’ when asked why no consultation had taken place. venue.

Liberal Social Democratic Party leader Viliame Gavoka said his party wanted the FNPF investment to be safe and Fiji Airways to prosper.

Mr Gavoka said FNPF members would be better protected with someone like Qantas as an active shareholder.

He said the airline industry was very complex and often beyond the capacity of smaller economies like Fiji, so there was a need for a major player such as Qantas to share the risk.

“Let’s look for worthy partners to help us manage this complex business and reduce risk,” he said.

National Federation Party leader Prof Biman Prasad said FNPF governance continued to be authoritarian with exclusive government control of a fund 100% owned by Fiji workers who had no word to say about how their funds were invested.

“Non-disclosure agreement with whom? Professor Prasad asked.

“Business agreements should be entered into in confidence where there is competition for opportunity or other commercially sensitive reasons and private companies, using their own money, have no obligation of disclosure to anyone.

“But this is completely different. This is the pension fund owned by tens of thousands of Fijian workers, they deserve to know how their money is being spent and no one else is competing to buy shares in our struggling national airline.

Prof Prasad said the excuse was ‘weak, lame and clearly an attempt to evade transparency and accountability’.

People’s Alliance party leader Sitiveni Rabuka said Mr Vodonaivalu’s attempt to explain the purchase of Fiji Airways shares was “not good enough”.

“We all know that the fund is required not to disclose its investment intentions,” he said.

“Everything the Popular Alliance has said and will continue to say, why is the secret in all of this?

“As trustees of workers’ funds, the board and management of the FNPF owe it to the workers of this country to be candid and transparent about the agreement.

“Knowing about this major development almost casually in a social function is unacceptable and disrespectful.”

Mr. Rabuka said that despite the press conference called by Mr. Vodonaivalu, other pressing questions remained unanswered.

“He tries to justify the deal by saying that the FNPF will get the return on its investment once all the countries have reopened their borders. How does he know Fiji Airways will get a bigger share of that market when all borders are reopened?

“What triggered the stock buying in the first place, was the FNPF desperate for new investment, or was it Fiji Airways after an injection of additional capital to cover its burgeoning debt ?”

Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube said following the purchase of a large share of Fiji Airways shares by the FNPF, members of the fund had every right to question the details of the agreement.

“It is their money and not that of the council that is at risk,” Mr Narube said.

“Negotiations require confidentiality. But the Council must now tell its members in a convincing, simple and convincing way why it has invested a huge sum of money in a risky industry.

“It should tell members what risks are involved and how these would be mitigated. He must inform the members of the processes he has followed.

“How was the financial controller involved in this transaction?

“The FNPF Board owes it to its members, otherwise they are not complying with their fundamental responsibility to protect members’ funds and they should immediately resign.”

Fiji Labor Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry says it would be ‘foolish’ for anyone to believe the FNPF board’s decision to invest was prompted by any consideration other than the bailout of the airline.

About Wanda Reilly

Check Also

Jordan steps up restrictions on political dissent, Human Rights Watch says

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com Register AMMAN, September 18 (Reuters) – Over …