Consultation on VNPF’s new Social Benefit Scheme

By Kizzy Kalsakau & Anita Roberts

A consultation has been held by the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) on what it intends to do with the new member’s Social Benefit Scheme covering death benefit, funeral expense, work injury compensation and rebuilding homes after natural disasters.

The Amendment of Section 61 of the VNPF Act approved in Parliament allows for the introduction of the Social Benefit Scheme, said the General Manager (GM) of VNPF, Parmod Achary, Parmod Achary.

“What we (VNPF) intend to do is design a new product, which means that the Special Death Benefit Account will not be on its own,” he said.

“What we are trying to do is increase the premium so that members are covered in the basic four insurance products.”

The new legislation also covers social benefits scheme, said the GM.

Previously, the VNPF Act does not provide for withdrawal when members get injured at work and during disasters.

GM Achary said VNPF wants to cover both informal and formal sector with the Social Benefit Scheme.

“In the event of a cyclone, members will be able to get support to rebuild houses and children go back to school.

“In Melanesian countries, funerals are expensive and saving money is not a culture. Social benefits of VNPF members must be addressed.”

GM Achary said part of consultation on Santo was to examine the informal sector environment there which will also benefit from the new product.

Other significant changes were made to the act. One of those is partial withdrawal at age 47 from Medisave and Investment Account excluding Retirement.

The changes to the VNPF Act will be effective once the Bill is gazetted, according to the GM.

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