FNU paper sparks discussion about employers levy

January 19, 2024 6:51 am

The Fiji National University has submitted a paper to the Ministry of Education on the one percent levy paid by employers.

Every employer in Fiji contributes one percent of the gross pay salary towards the National Training and Productivity Center to train employees with courses available at FNU.

However, since 2019, 90 percent of the levy income was diverted to fund medical services and the Accident Compensation Commission of Fiji.

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The Textile Clothing and Footwear Council recently raised concerns about the lack of efficiency in the garment industry due to a lack of training.

This was part of the discussion during TCF’s annual general meeting last month, and according to President Inbamalar Wanarajan, the levy is being paid to FNU, but they are not getting any benefits.

She says FNU should have introduced industry-related degree courses for the industry, which has been in existence for so many years.

Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Selina Kuruleca says they are now having discussions on this.

“We are looking into the FNTC levy, and of course, the conversation at the table that was held already and the follow-up conversations happening next week have been between FNU, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, and our employers, and we’re looking at bringing in other partners into this conversation on how best to move this forward.”

Kuruleca says concerns have also been raised with the Ministry.

“We all know that part of it was taken away to the ACCF, so that part is under discussion because, under the law, we’re not seeing it in the FNU act if it’s covered somewhere else. This is the conversation that we’re currently having.”

According to FNU’s 2022 annual report, their levy income increased by 17% to $23 million from $19.6 million in 2021, and this was attributed to an increase in the collection of the FNU levy and the payment of grants to employers, the Accident Compensation Commission of Fiji, and the Medical Scheme.