NPF hit by COVID pandemic

General Manager for SINPF Mr Mike Wate
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SOLOMON Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) has highlighted the economic impact caused by COVID-19 on its membership and activities.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, General Manager Michael Wate said in the 2020 financial year (ending 30 June 2020), new registered members declined to 6,182 against a good year in 2019 of 9,323 members.

However, Wate said the 2020 numbers though is consistent with recorded new member registrations in 2018 or 2017.

“We will expect new member registration to decline further in 2021,” he said.

Further to that, Wate said members with credit balances remain at the same level of 142,000 but with active members declining to 59,330 against 61,262 in 2019.

“We may expect the number of active members to decline as the economy continues to remain in recession and the borders closed in particular for the tourism and hospitality industries,” he said.

Wate said new employees registered declined to 223 in 2020 against 368 registered in 2019, they may expect this to decline further in 2021.

Furthermore, Wate said the 2020 COVID-19 exemption benefits were paid to 20,366 members for around $98.1 million.

He said their informal sector product youSave though has continued to expand considerably through youSave mobile and encouraged by the remit of the 10% sales tax on airtime that will be used for retirement savings.

Wate said the current membership has now reached 22,584 with more than $20 million in savings.

The PAC hearing continues today.