by PNG Business News - June 08, 2022

Photo: Nasfund GM MES - Anne Wilson

The National Superannuation Fund, Nasfund, is encouraging its members to utilize all Fund touch points, for all their superannuation queries. These touch points are 17 branch offices around the country, an online member portal and a dedicated call center on phone 1588 that allows convenient access of their choosing.

Especially during this busy election period, the Fund notes that there may be disruptions to its operations, especially in areas where there are security issues.

Nasfund General Manager Member & Employer Services Services Anne Wilson is encouraging all members to access these services at their convenience-without the need to fly to Port Moresby.

“In 2022, collectively our branch network has served a total of 125,000 members. The majority of these members have been served at our Boroko service centre in NCD, and our Lae Service Centre in Morobe Province.

Of these 125,000 members served, just under 30% are members who are requesting for a Nasfund balance statement. 19% are members who are after general enquiries, and 15% are members following-up on their withdrawal applications.

Much of the information requested by members can be sourced via our electronic channels.

Our electronic channels have been established to make it easier for members to access our services without the need to spend time and money travelling to visit a Nasfund branch office.

To assist members access our services without physically visiting a Nasfund branch, the following channels should be utilised; 

  • The Fund’s Call Centre on Phone 1588, email 
  • The Member Online Portal (MOL) on the Fund’s website , 
  • The Fund’s electronic withdrawal application service , and 
  • The Fund’s social media pages; o Facebook: www.facebook.cp,/nasfundPNG / LinkedIn: / Twitter: @nasfund_png / Instagram: @nasfund_png

As the country’s largest superannuation provider by membership size, we are providing the platforms for our contributing employers to access superannuation services easily.

Our Call Centre and helpdesk operates 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 12midday Saturday to attend to member queries.

The MOL is our way of ensuring that members take ownership of ensuring that their personal details, and beneficiary listings, are updated regularly. Members can also view their housing advance eligibility, and keep track of their contributions via the MOL

Our e-withdrawal option, introduced in 2020, allows members to send their withdrawal application via email, without having to physically lodge their application at a Nasfund branch.

Our social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram) also provide an added avenue for members to interact with our staff on a daily basis. Members can interact with our staff via their social media accounts.

We are committed to these options, so that our members can access our services from the safety and comfort from wherever they are.

We are here to assist you while you work, so that you are ready for retirement.”

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PNG Business News - March 23, 2021

NASFUND Releases Audited 2020 Results

The National Superannuation Fund Limited (Nasfund) is delighted to release its full-year 2020 findings. The audited results for the year ended December 31, 2020, as reviewed by the Board at its meeting, included a Net Profit of K222.9 million and a Net Asset Value of K5.57 billion. Following these findings, the Nasfund Board of Directors approved a 4.5 per cent interest-crediting rate for the 2020 Financial Year, amounting to over K235 million, which has already been credited to members' accounts. On behalf of the Board, Chairman Charles Vee indicated that the findings reflected the Fund's most difficult year to date, especially in light of the weakened economy and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In response to these headwinds, I am pleased that the Fund has demonstrated once again strong resilience and exceeded its budgeted cash profit after tax of K266 million by K15 million due to tight control on operating expenses and lower tax costs,” he said. “The pandemic and other external factors beyond our control adversely impacted the economy which resulted in valuation losses of K155 million across our property and equities investments, including K38 million in additional provisions to comply with international accounting standards (IFRS 9), which was partially offset by foreign exchange gain of K97 million due to the Kina depreciating against other currencies. This resulted in an overall net valuation loss of K58 million which represents an additional 1.10 per cent crediting rate, members have missed out on. While the crediting rate of 4.5% has been achieved for our members, we remind members again of the benefit of locking away savings over a long period.  The value of a member’s savings grows significantly through the effect of compound interest and additional contributions. I am pleased to inform our members that we continue to meet our investment target of achieving returns above CPI over a rolling five year period which on average is 5.7 per cent compared to CPI average of 5.4 per cent over the same time. Additionally, over the last five years, Nasfund has paid over K1.27 billion in interest to members and paid out K2.18 billion in superannuation entitlements to its members. We remind members that your long term Nasfund savings does have its benefits to ensure a comfortable retirement after active employment.” Other highlights for 2020 include: Contribution receipts increased by 2%, totalling K575 million. The membership base has grown by 3% to 604,587 contributors. The number of employers has increased by 7% to 2,576. Superannuation withdrawals increased by 22% to K469 million, compared to K384 million in the budget. The launch of a new logo. The opening of a new Member Services Center in Waigani, NCD, with plans to expand to Lae. Hagen and Goroka headquarters are being refurbished. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Provincial Government of East Sepik to provide superannuation services to cocoa and vanilla farmers. The third Employer Awards Evening was a huge success. “In 2021, we are continuing our focus on enhancing our member services, including housing developments while actively seeking to grow our membership and new investment opportunities,” Vee said. “I would like to acknowledge the commitment of our CEO Ian Tarutia, the management team and staff for their hard work and support in delivering commendable results in 2020.” CEO Ian Tarutia said, “During this period of uncertainty, a lot of our employers had to take drastic action to keep afloat. Labour shedding and workforce rationalizing were initiatives taken by employers to remain operational during the COVID State of Emergency imposed last year. Additionally, fall in Oil Prices and the closure of Porgera Mine impacted companies like Oilsearch and Barrick Joint Venture and resulted in a large number of employees being laid off. As a consequence, while this placed pressure on our member services due to the increased volume of applications and enquiries, I am pleased to inform you that we paid all clean applications as and when they became due. On this note I commend our staff for their professionalism and empathy to meet member demands, during these trying times. I also acknowledge those members opting to not withdraw all their savings, managing themselves through other means and retaining a portion for their future benefit.”   Tarutia also warned that, while withdrawals in 2020 were well managed, if Porgera is not opened in the near future and other major resource projects are not launched to stimulate the economy, more job losses will occur, and we may see a surge in withdrawals this year that exceeds what we paid in 2020. He added, “COVID-19 prevention and containment requires distancing from one another. This is a problem for our members as a majority do not have their own homes and live with extended family. Secondly, we are already experiencing the inadequacies of our current health system, as COVID-19 transmission rates escalate throughout the country. We already know how to grow members wealth, we have been doing this successfully since 2000 through late Sir Mekere’s superannuation reforms. Now it is timely to look at how we can assist members with quality homes they can afford. Not just release some of their retirement savings for housing, but provide a whole house, land package. The target audience will be first home buyers only. We should also be looking at investments in the health sector to look after members and their families when they are ill. A lot of our members are dying from preventable diseases. What is the point of saving for retirement when their health cannot be looked after?” 

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PNG Business News - June 24, 2022

Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme

EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.


PNG Business News - June 24, 2022

Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program

Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications.  Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen.   Article courtesy of Santos


PNG Business News - June 23, 2022

PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG

Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “   Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page

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