Withdrawal high last year: Fund


A HIGH number of members applied to withdraw their savings with National Superannuation Fund (Nasfund) last year which was a challenging period for workers and businesses, chief executive officer Ian Tarutia says.
He said containment of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) by limiting transmissions, improving treatment, raising vaccination rates and keeping the economy going were all “day-to-day” topical matters.
“For business and a majority of our employers, it was a test of resilience and adaptability under new norms,” he said.
“Business houses have become adept in keeping doors open for trade, maintaining employment, paying tax, superannuation, increased licensing fees, accessing limited forex while seeking and investing in new opportunities in a contracting and distressed economy.”
He said Nasfund’s priority in 2021 was to keep staff healthy, maintain services to members, paying out Section 90 entitlements as and when required and ensuring they continued to deliver a positive return on member savings.
“Our challenge over 2021 was the high volume of members applying for a withdrawal of their savings on account of unemployment and retirement which was expected on the back of the Porgera mine closure and labour shedding at a number of our large employers, including several SOEs (State-owned enterprises).
“As we did in 2020, we accommodated this by holding a high level of cash.”
Tarutia added that no member missed out on receiving their entitlement as and when it was legally due.
He said while new investment opportunities were limited, the Nasfund board addressed a number of existing investments that were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and prevailing economic conditions.
While final audited results will be released next month, several highlights of last year for Nasfund include:

  • INCOME and profitability to exceed budget;
  • EXPENSES maintained below budget;
  • ACQUISITION of 98 per cent ownership of Mainland Holdings Ltd;
  •  SUPPORT for Loloata Island Resort (Nasfund owns 50 per cent);
  • MEMBERSHIP base increased by 2.5 per cent to 621,283 as of Nov 30;
  • EMPLOYER base increased by 1.1 per cent to 2,697 as of Nov 30; and,
  • LED the superannuation industry’s response to Government’s dominant industry player levy.

Tarutia said the fund expected to face similar challenges this year especially as Papua New Guinea headed into the general election in June.
“We will maintain focus on doing the basics right while positioning ourselves to capitalise on worthwhile opportunities that deliver value for members in 2022 and beyond.”