14 Mar 2005

MP businessman in Solomon Islands stunned by huge deficit at National Provident Fund

9:14 pm on 14 March 2005

Solomon Islands MP, Yukio Sato, is questioning how the public servants superannuation fund, the National Provident Fund, could record a massive loss for the last financial year after a surplus the previous year.

Mr Sato has raised the alarm after the NPF's financial audit for 2004 reported a 6.87 million US dollar loss, after recording a nearly half million US dollar surplus in 2003.

He says it is hard to believe such a turnaround but says it's a very serious matter that demands an explanation from the NPF.

"This money does not belong to the government. It's not their money, it's the taxpayers. All their sweat and hardwork. It's money for the people. Solomon Islanders are different to Australia and New Zealand. We have no proper pension system, only the people or workers, employees, they depend on this money, after they retire."

Mr Sato says that with growing frustration among the workers, Solomon islands could face a similar situation to Vanuatu where disgruntled NPF members rioted.