May 5, 2017
A NEW pilot savings scheme focused on providing retirement savings plans for self-employed Solomon Islanders was launched on Tuesday in Honiara.
Market vendors were the first registrants of the new product “youSave” being trialed by the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund through technical support and a $US176,820 grant from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme.
The PFIP also provided 20 android tablets to enable real-time registration of customers.
Traditionally, NPF account holders have been formally employed citizens whose employers have created an account for them.
Under the new scheme, self-employed citizens can register and begin saving in the voluntary superannuation scheme, earning an attractive interest rate, which has averaged 8 per cent over the past 10 years.
Unlike a commercial bank savings account, NPF does not charge any account fees, meaning that the account holder accumulates more savings over the long haul.
“The youSave product gives all Solomon Islanders the opportunity to save for their retirement and have access to great investment returns at a higher interest rate than normal commercial banks,” NPF general manager Tony Makabo said.
The NPF would be working with various associations and organisations to offer the scheme to their members in coming months.
One such group is the Honiara Central Market Vendors Association whose 375 members were the first group to participate in the pilot.
Vendors Association president Moreen Sariki welcomed the initiative saying that her members were eager to join.
“We are grateful for the opportunity for our members to save and see our money grow through investment,” she said.
PFIP Financial Inclusion Specialist Isaac Holly said: “Having enough money to maintain their quality of life during retirement and not being a burden on loved ones is a big concern for many in the informal sector in the Solomon Islands. Even saving small amounts with youSave can add up to substantial savings.”