Second wave of FNPF assistance announced

May 23, 2020 7:43 am

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has today revealed the second wave of Fiji National Provident Fund COVID-19 assistance. [File Photo]

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced the second wave of the Fiji National Provident Fund COVID-19 assistance yesterday.

With the first phase of unemployment assistance ending on the 29th of this month, Sayed-Khaiyum says the second phase in partnership with FNPF, will begin soon after.

“In this particular second wave, it includes all those people who have already received assistance, and of course it will include any persons who have become unemployed since then. Because you know some people have become unemployed last week or unemployed before that but have not made an application. It of course does not include anybody that was unemployed six months prior to this.”

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The Economy Minister confirms the criteria for who qualifies for COVID-19 withdrawals has also been expanded.

“In this new second wave what we are going to have is the members will be able to access an initial $1,100 if they are now unemployed due to COVID-19. The government will provide a top-up for all those who have less than $1,100 in their general account. Of this group the $1,100 assistance will be paid out in 5 installments of $220 a fortnight.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says through this system, those left jobless due to COVID-19 will continue to receive assistance over a ten-week period.

“Those who have not withdrawn during phase one and are unemployed due to COVID-19 will be able to withdraw a lump sum of $1,100 through FNPF. If they don’t have that amount government will top it up for them.”

He adds that FNPF members who have exhausted their accounts or have less than $35 will be paid $220 for the first fortnight.

“They do not have to come to us or come to FNPF to verify or fill out any forms because we know they have less than $35 in their accounts and there will be automatically $220 deposited into their bank accounts. There are about 20,000 people in that category from all the ones who have already applied.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will next week payout $4.4m to 20,000 people while a new initiative to assist SMEs to be announced on Sunday.

Meanwhile, 87,489 applications have been received from FNPF members for the first wave of COVID-19 member assistance. 78,519 members have been paid $49.7 million.

18,540 members have received government assistance totaling $6.8 million.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the remaining members withdrew a total of $42.9 million from their FNPF accounts.

Close to 4,600 applications will be processed and paid out by the end of May.