December 6, 2017
LOW income earners and those employed in the informal sector can now make voluntary pension contributions through a new mobile phone-based digital payment platform.
The Fiji National Provident Fund is piloting the Vodafone M-PAiSA platform to allow members of the voluntary savings account to make contributions to their retirement savings through digital channels.
FNPF, through the assistance of the United Nations – Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), is testing this new innovative mobile payment solution that allows low-income earners to make small contributions conveniently anytime, anywhere using their Vodafone M-PAiSA account.
A joint statement from FNPF and PFIP stated the digital model was designed to encourage more Fijians to actively save for retirement and to remove the hassle of lining up at a FNPF branch and to provide a means for rural Fijians to make contributions and secure their future.
“This product makes it possible for people in the informal economy to save money towards their retirement. The amount saved becomes their income once they are too old to work or if they become unfit due to old age, illness or injury, or can be used to support their families after the death of the member,” PFIP deputy program manager Krishnan Narasimhan said.
“Often people in the informal sector are financially excluded and, therefore, vulnerable and subject to neglect if family members are unable to care for them,” Mr Narasimhan said.
FNPF Chief Operations Manager Jioji Koroi said they were excited to embark on this project with PFIP and Vodafone, aimed at helping the most vulnerable Fijians to live out their twilight years with dignity, security and independence.
“The project team will be learning from registrants to make sure that the scheme is tailored to the needs of the informal sector with regards to payments flexibility and are also exploring other possible partners (distribution/collection agents) to make it simple to regularly contribute to retirement savings,” Mr Koroi said.
Vodafone Fiji Head of E-Commerce and Corporate Affairs Shailendra Prasad said: “We are delighted to offer a highly accessible and convenient mobile payment channel to make voluntary FNPF contributions a reality.”
“Mobile phone-based payment systems are helping achieve greater financial inclusion around the world, particularly for the vulnerable and women in unprecedented ways,” Mr Prasad said.
“We are, therefore, excited to be the first to offer this facility to our customers to make voluntary contributions to their FNPF superannuation account. This will help them secure their future to still be able to live a decent and respectable life after retirement through a secure pension fund.”
The service offers a convenient payment option for labourers, market vendors and those who may be self-employed such as those in the agriculture sector to register and start saving for their old age through an FNPF account.
Registered M-PAISA users can dial *567# to access the service on their Vodafone and Inkk mobile.