S.N.P.F. tells members to download annual reports

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.)

Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.)

The Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.) has responded to concerns raised about its decision to lend “millions” of the people’s money to foreign-owned companies doing business in Samoa.

But instead of giving the details about how and whom the S.N.P.F’s “millions” have been loaned to, the Fund insists members of the public can “download the annual reports available online.”

The response came in a statement issued on behalf of the Fund by the S.N.P.F’s Solicitor, Tanya Toailoa-Lagaaia.

“The Fund has lent to young people hoping to build a home, communities desiring to build a new place of worship, and to businesses - newly formed, or established - engaged in various activities,” the statement reads. 

“Thus many individuals and businesses have applied, and all are welcome to apply, for financing - but, in the interests of protecting members’ contributions, those individuals and businesses must meet the lending criteria. 

“This is in accordance with the Fund’s duty to its members. 

“A member wishing to understand the Fund's financial position and performance in any given year is welcome to download the annual reports available online.”

On Sunday, a member of the business community said the Fund should invest more in local businesses, especially businesses who are struggling with their debts because of the tough economic times.

The businesswoman who only wants to be identified as “Lara” claimed the S.N.P.F has recently lent “millions” to a Chinese businessman and to the Papua New Guinea Group, Lamana Group which operates Taumeasina Resort. 

“I hope they have done their homework and I hope they can guarantee that these monies will come back to Samoa in some form,” she said.

“I’m mindful of the millions that were lent to the Sri Lankans who came to Samoa and started Desico. Those millions have not been recovered.

“At the end of the day, this is money that belongs to all Samoans. As far as I’m concerned, the Fund is here to help Samoans. So it should be at the forefront of helping local businesses.”

Lara said history exists to show that many so-called investors come to Samoa “promising the sun and the moon” and they end up “using resources that should be reserved for local businesses.”

“They come as investors,” she said. “What kind of investor comes to Samoa to rely on Samoa’s money? They are not investors, they are using us. I think the government should be concerned about this. If investors come, they have to bring their own money, not come and then borrow from Samoa. This is not right.”

 “Why is the Fund lending to these multi-national-companies such as the Lamana Group when they are supposed to be big time investors bringing Investment into Samoa?”

Questions with these concerns were sent to the S.N.P.F last week.

In its response yesterday, the Fund does not address any of the concerns except.

“The details of individual loan accounts are protected by confidentiality and cannot be made public, and we can assure our members and clients that their account details can only be accessed by the client themselves.”

The following is the response from the S.N.P.F yesterday, published verbatim:

 

6th March 2017 

Dear Editor, 

 

RE: SNPF QUERIES

We wish to respond to an article about S.N.P.F. that featured in your paper yesterday. 

The Fund's obligation to safe-guard the contributions of its members is a duty that the Fund undertakes with care and vigilance, and it is this duty to protect its members’ contributions that compels the Fund to lend money only when its lending policies have been satisfied. 

The Fund has lent to young people hoping to build a home, communities desiring to build a new place of worship, and to businesses - newly formed, or established - engaged in various activities. 

Thus many individuals and businesses have applied, and all are welcome to apply, for financing - but, in the interests of protecting members’ contributions, those individuals and businesses must meet the lending criteria. This is in accordance with the Fund’s duty to its members. 

A member wishing to understand the Fund's financial position and performance in any given year is welcome to download the annual reports available online. 

The latest Annual Report (for the Financial Year that ended in June 2016) is currently being reviewed by a Parliamentary Committee and once that has been tabled in Parliament, it will be made available on the Internet for the general public. This annual report will provide information on the Fund's operations including its investments and their profitability. 

The details of individual loan accounts are protected by confidentiality and cannot be made public, and we can assure our members and clients that their account details can only be accessed by the client themselves. 

If a member or business wishes to apply for financing or has queries related to their current financing - or any other general query - they are most welcome to contact our office via emails info@npf.ws or members@npf.ws or phone 64800 and we will be happy to assist them. 

Sincerely, 

 

Tanya Toailoa-Lagaaia 

SOLICITOR FOR SNPF

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