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Minister Clarifies SNPF Jubilee Dividend as Approved by the Board

Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – 14 APRIL 2022: The Minister of Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Ale-Molioo, has clarified issues raised by the media based on questions in a letter by a “Very Disappointed SNPF Contributor” Peniamina Muliaina’s letter circulated on social media this week.

On Monday, the Minister announced the details of the $42.35m tala interim dividend for contributors on the Funds 50th Golden Jubilee celebration.

The letter questioned the Ministers authority under the SNPF Act to pay part of the dividend to 13 charity organisations and also questioned why pay from the dividend $50 tala to the pensioners for April when the Pension Scheme is the responsibility of the Government, not the contributors to the Fund.

According to the Minister, she was advised by the CEO of SNPF to expect a Cabinet paper for information only, on the SNPF’s plans for the 50th Jubilee celebrations.

“I felt it was my role as the Minister to have a say in this decision given the marking of 50 years was of national interest, our SNPF has come a long way and it made sense for the Minister and Cabinet to at least have this conversation,” said Mulipola.

The Cabinet submission given her later was final and it included the Board’s decision on:

  1. Percentage of the dividend to be paid out
  2. Additional $50 for pensioners and
  3. Assistance for charitable organisations

“In my letter as mentioned above, I had specifically asked the CEO and the Board for clarity mainly on the following:

  1. The basis of the dividend, whether the members are getting the returns they deserve and if 5% was adequate.
  2. Whether the payout of $50 extra for all pensioners for one month is in line with the SNPF Act because normally the pension is paid by the Government from its annual budget.
  3. Why SNPF is funding Charitable Organisations? To provide a list of the charitable organisations that will be given assistance and to confirm if this was in line with the SNPF Act.
  4. Suggested that SNPF revisit their legislation to ensure Annual General Meetings are done annually, this is the only way members’ voices can be heard.

“The CEO SNPF has responded to all these questions and Cabinet was also provided with a Cabinet Submission for their information only,” Mulipola explained.

She also referred to Cabinet’s decision as follows:

  1. Note the Information Paper from the Board and the Management of SNPF.
  2. The Board and Management to revisit whether members interests are given priority.
  3. The Board and Management to revisit its legal mandate to ensure its oversight, plans, income and developments undertaken are for the benefit of its members.
  4. To review SNPF’s legislation to include the holding of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) for all members to ensure their voice is heard.

The Minister said she did not receive the letter by the ‘disappointed contributor’ but her response reported here were to questions from the media on what she was told were raised in the letter.