Parlt to approve amendment to superfund law before members can withdraw
By HELEN TARAWA
PEOPLE who had lost their jobs seven weeks ago and were hoping to withdraw part of their superfund savings to sustain them will have to wait for another month, an official says.
Parliament, which is expected to meet in the first week of June, has to first approve the amendment to the Superannuation (General Provisions) Act 2013 before members can access their savings.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven told The National that Cabinet had agreed to have the amendment tabled in Parliament in its June sitting, at the earliest.
“The National Executive Council has approved that the Superannuation Fund legislation be amended to enable workers to access their savings during the state of emergency,” he said.
Steven said the amended legislation would apply not only for Covid-19 but also for other big natural disasters in future.
“That’s one positive out of Covid-19,” he said.
He said the current legislation allowed superfund members to withdraw their retirement savings one year after leaving work.
“The NEC has already approved a proposal from the superfunds in terms of how the reforms are necessary. The Government is working on that,” he said.
“As a response to Covid-19, all the other jurisdictions that we are aware of including ourselves (Government) are asking POSF (now Nambawan Super) to make this option available.
“The intention is not to compel (the superfunds) to pay but to make these payments available so that citizens entitled can access it. And that’s to be managed by the superfunds. Because in some cases, this would be the only source of income immediately available but restricted by law,” he said.
Steven said the Emergency Act passed by Parliament entitled the controller to issue specific orders in these areas.
“He can issue it today and still be valid. The Emergency Act applies not withstanding any other provision in any other legislation. That’s why through the Act the controller can stop all schools from operating.
“That’s why Parliament needed to be recalled to allow for this one legislation to operate.”