13 July 2012. The Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano officially opens the new Head Office for the National Retirement and Benefits Fund Scheme at Vaha'akolo Road, to mark the commencement of the Fund's operations. Transcript of the Lord Prime Minister's Keynote address is available in both English and Tongan:
Nobles of the Realm,
Ministers of the Crown,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Chairman and Directors of the National Retirement Benefits Fund,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A. Overview of vision and economic benefit:
We gather on this important occasion to mark the commencement of the National Retirement Benefits Fund's operations that was effective on 1st of this month. It is the realisation of a vision by government to provide financial security for its people in their retirement or when they are no longer able to work.
Retirement marks the end of the active working life of an employer or employee. The retirement benefit is founded on the principles of self provision and self-reliance. We understand that this reduces reliance on the Government and ensures fiscal sustainability for the long term.
One of the concerns of governments and communities in the Pacific region is the lack of institutional structure to promote economic growth. The Government of Tonga responded to this concern by reviewing its pension scheme for the Public Service which was in place at the time. The Government pension scheme at the time was limited to public servants and was a defined benefits model created in 1915 and fully funded by the government.
The longer life expectancy and the growing level of unfunded liabilities meant that the Government was looking for an alternative to the Public Sector. The Government changed the 1915 pension scheme for the public sector on 1st July 1999 to a defined contribution model whereby both employees and employers contributed. The new contribution scheme was to reduce the government liability and provide a better retirement benefit for members in old age.
B. The National Retirement Benefits Scheme Fund.
The National Retirement Benefits Fund has been set up under the National Retirement Benefits Scheme Act 2010 which came into force on 1 December 2011 an operation to be effective 1st July 2012. The Board operates under the purview of the Minister of Finance.
The commencement of the Fund's operations and payments into the Fund will over time undoubtedly have positive effects on Tonga's national savings and providing more security and confidence for the working nationals.
The main objectives for setting up this Fund scheme were twofold, firstly to provide a measure of financial security and to alleviate financial hardship in old age. Such hardship occurs when workers are unable to save individually for their retirement; and secondly, to raise national saving levels in order to increase the availability of investment capital and boost the economy. This in turn, can improve employment creation for the private sector workforce.
The Fund is empowered by law to firstly ensure security of the member's funds. It is our goal that over time the growth and maturity of investments' spill-over effects will enable the setting up of investment initiatives to support social and economic development.
The establishment of this Fund reinforces Government's commitment to alleviate the effects of poverty by diversifying budget management initiative to grow the economy. This also supports the Government's Strategic Development Plan 2011-2014 where outcome objectives includes strong commitment by engaging villages, districts and communities in meeting their prioritised needs and ensuring the prioritised and equitable distribution of development benefits. The operation of this fund is a dynamic public and private sector partnership, an engine of growth, by promoting better collaboration between government and business appropriate incentives, and streamlining of rules and regulations.
The National Retirement Benefits Fund has been established with financial assistance from the Government of Tonga UNDP/ILO (United Nations Development Project) and People's Republic of China. Further technical support is envisage to be provided by the European Union (EU), World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). We thank these partners in development, sincerely.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Tonga, I wish to thank all our development partners for establishing this government vision to organise a guaranteed financial support in old age which has been proven and recognised worldwide.
C. Social Benefits Scheme for the Elderly 75yrs old and above.
This month July 2012, the Government with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will begin a pilot of social services to the most vulnerable elderly. Today, the National Retirement Benefits Fund is being charged with the administration and management of the social benefits for the elderly. It is envisage that the administration of the payments will start in September this year.
The Government remains committed to protect the livelihood of its vulnerable people within the limit of its resources. The nation faces many social changes. One of those changes is that the traditional system which has protected our vulnerable including the elderly in the past is coming under great strain.
The framework we aspire towards is founded on the principle of self provision. The responsibility to provide for one's own retirement needs, lies primarily with the individual and his family. Reduction of reliance on the state would ensure fiscal sustainability for the long term.
Our pilot Social Benefits Scheme for the Elderly is to meet the commitment to protect our vulnerable elderly in these difficult economic times.
I wish the National Retirement Benefits Fund all the best in bringing into fruition the vision for a world class organisation which enables Tongan workers to have secure retirement with lifelong income and other benefits in due time.
Fakatapu ki he Hou'eiki Nopele ‘a ‘ene ‘Afio
Kau Minisita ‘o e Kalauni
Hou'eiki Memipa ‘o e kau fakafofonga ‘o e ngaahi pule'anga mei muli
Kau Taki Lotu
Sea mo e kau Talekita ‘o e Sino'i Pa'anga Fakafonua Ki he Ngaahi Monu'ia ‘o e Malolo mei Ngaue
Kau Fakaafe Fakalangilangi kotoa pe ‘oku mou me'a ‘i heni.
A. Visone mo e Lelei Faka'ekonomika
‘Oku tau fakataha ‘i he ‘aho ni ke faka'ilonga'i ‘a hono kamata ‘o e ngaahi fatongia ngaue ‘a e Sino'i Pa'anga Fakafonua ki he Ngaahi Monu'ia ‘o e Malolo mei he Ngaue. Ko e fakahoko ‘eni ‘o ha visone ‘a e Pule'anga ke fokotu'u ha malu'i fakapa'anga ma'ae kakai ‘o e fonua ‘i he'enau malolo pe ‘ikai kenau toe lava ‘o ngaue.
Ko e malolo mei he ngaue ‘oku ne faka'ilonga'i ‘a e ngata'anga ‘o e taimi ngaue ‘o ha pulengaue pe ko ha taha ngaue. Ko e pa'anga malolo ‘oku makatu'unga ia ‘i he fakakaukau ‘o e malava ke takitaha tokanga'i mo fakafalala kiate kita pe. ‘Oku ‘i ai ‘a e mahino ‘e malava ‘eni ke ne tukuhifo ai ‘a e mo'ui fakafalala pe ki he Pule'anga pea fakapapau'i ‘a e malava ke hokohoko atu ‘a e ngaahi kavenga fakapa'anga ki he kaha'u.
Ko e taha ‘a e ngaahi tokanga ‘a e ngaahi Pule'anga mo e ngaahi komiuniti ‘i he Pasifiki ko e ‘ikai ke ‘i ai ha ngaahi ngaue pehe ni ke ne faka'ai'ai ‘a e tupu ‘a e ‘ekonomika. Kuo tokanga makehe ‘a e Pule'anga Tonga ki he me'a ni ‘o toe vakai'i ‘a e pension ‘a e kau Ngaue Faka-Pule'anga ‘a ia na'e fakahoko ‘i he taimi koia. Ko e pension ‘a e pule'anga ‘i he taimi koia na'e fakangatangata pe ia ki he kau Ngaue Faka-Pule'anga ‘a ia na'e kamata ‘i he 1915 pea fakapa'anga kakato ‘e he Pule'anga.
Koe'uhi ko e loloaange ‘a e mo'ui ‘a e kakai pea lahiange mo e ngaahi totongi na'e pau ke fakahoko ‘e he Pule'anga, na'e fai leva ‘a e fekumi ki ha toe founga pension ‘e taha ma'ae kau Ngaue Faka-Pule'anga. Na'e liliu ‘e he Pule'anga ‘a e founga pension ‘o e 1915 ma'ae kau Ngaue Faka-Pule'anga ki ha founga ‘e taha ‘o kamata ‘i he ‘aho 1 ‘o Siulai 1999 ‘a ia na'e pau ke fakatou totongi ‘e he kau ngaue pea mo e Pule Ngaue'anga. Ko e founga fo'ou ko'eni ‘oku ne hanga ‘o fakasi'isi'i ‘a e mo'ua ‘o e Pule'anga ke totongi mo ‘oange ‘a e ngaahi monu'ia leleiange ‘i he taimi malolo ‘a e kau memipa ‘i he'enau toulekeleka.
B. Sino'i Pa'anga Fakafonua ki he ngaahi monu'ia ‘o e malolo mei he ngaue.
Kuo fokotu'u ‘a e Sino'i Pa'anga Fakafonua ki he Ngaahi Monu'ia ‘o e Malolo mei he Ngaue ‘i he malumalu ‘o e Lao Sino'i Pa'anga Fakafonua ki he Ngaahi Monu'ia ‘o e Malolo mei he Ngaue 2010 ‘a ia na'e hoko ia ko e Lao ‘i he ‘aho 1 Tisema 2011 pea kamata ‘a e ngaahi ngaue fekau'aki mo e Lao ni ‘i he ‘aho 1 Siulai 2012. Ko e Poate ‘oku fokotu'u ‘e he Lao ni ‘oku tokanga'i ia ‘e he Minisita Pa'anga.
Ko e kamata ‘o e ngaahi ngaue ni pea mo e ngaahi totongi ki he ngaue'anga ni ‘oku mahino ‘e hoko mei ai ‘i he kaha'u ‘a e ngaahi ola lelei ki he'etau pa'anga fakafonua ‘oku tuku (National Savings) pea mo ‘oange ‘a e malu mo e fiemalieange ki he kakai ngaue ‘o e fonua.
‘Oku ua ‘a e ngaahi taumu'a tefito ‘o hono fokotu'u ‘a e ngaue ni;
Ko e ‘uluaki, ke fakapapau'i ha founga malu fakapa'anga mo ta'ofi ‘a e ngaahi faingata'a ‘oku ala hoko ‘i he ngaahi ta'u ‘o e toulekeleka. ‘Oku malava ke hoko ‘a e ngaahi faingata'a pehe ‘i he taimi ‘oku ‘ikai malava ‘e he kau ngaue ke tauhi ha pa'anga ki he taimi he'ikai ke nau toe lava ke ngaue ai.
Ko e ua, ke fakalahi ‘a e pa'anga fakafonua ‘oku tauhi (National Savings Level) koe‘uhi ke fakalahi e pa'anga ke inivesi mo langa hake ‘a e ‘ekonomika ‘o e fonua. ‘E hoko leva ‘eni ko hono fakalelei ‘a e tukunga ‘o e ma'u ngaue ki he kau ngaue ‘o e sekitoa taautaha.
‘Oku fakamafai ‘e he Lao ‘a e mu'aki fatongia ‘o e ngaue ni ke fakapapau'i ‘a e malu ‘o e pa'anga ‘a e kau ngaue. Ko e taumu'a, ko e ngaahi ola ‘o e ngaahi inivesi ‘e malava ke ne tokoni'i ‘a e langa fakalakalaka fakasosiale mo faka'ekonomika ‘o e fonua.
Ko hono fokotu'u ‘o e ngaue ni ‘oku ne fakapapau'i ‘a e tukupa ‘a e Pule'anga ke tokonia ‘a e ngaahi palopalema ‘o e tukuhausia ‘i hono ngaue'i ha ngaahi founga ke longomo'uiange ai ‘a ‘etau ‘ekonomika. ‘Oku poupou'i ai foki ‘a e Palani Ngaue Langa Fakalakalaka ‘a e Pule'anga ki he 2011-2014 ‘a e ‘oku kau ‘i he ngaahi taumu'a ‘oku fiema'u ‘a e fakapapau'i ‘o e kau mai ‘a e ngaahi kolo, ngaahi vahe fonua mo e kotoa ‘o e fonua ‘i hono fakataha'i ‘o e fakahokohoko totonu ‘o ‘enau ngaahi fiema'u mo tufotufa taau ‘a e ngaahi lelei ‘o ‘etau langa fakalakalaka. Ko e fakahoko ngaue ‘a e ngaue ni ko ha ngaue fakataha ia ‘a e Pule'anga mo e sekitoa taautaha, ke langa hake mo fakalelei'i ‘a e fengaue'aki ‘a e Pule'anga mo e ngaahi faka'ai'ai fakapisinisi mo hono fakalelei'i ‘o e ngaahi tu'utu'u ni fakalao.
Na'e fokotu'u ‘a e Sino'i Pa'anga Malolo Fakafonua ko'eni ‘aki ‘a e tokoni fakapa'anga mei he Pule'anga Tonga, UNDP/ILO (United Nation Development Project) pea mo e tokoni fakame'angaue ‘a e Pule'anga Siaina. ‘Oku mau ‘amanaki ki he ngaahi tokoni fakapa'anga mo fakatekinikale mei he EU (European Union), Pangike ‘a Mamani pea mo e Pangike Fakalakalaka ‘Esia (Asian Development Bank). ‘Oku mau fakamalo ki hotau kau hoa ngaue koeni ‘i he langa fakalakalaka.
‘Oku ou fakafofonga'i atu ‘a e Pule'anga mo e kakai ‘o e fonua ‘a e fakamalo ki hotau ngaahi hoa ngaue koia ‘i he langa fakalakalaka ‘i he'enau tokoni'i ‘i hono fokotu'u ‘a e visone ko'eni ‘a e Pule'anga ke fakahoko ha ngaue pau ki hono tokoni'i fakapa'anga ‘o e kakai ngaue kuo nau toulekeleka. Ko e fa'ahinga ngaue ko'eni kuo'osi ngaue'i ia mo mahino ‘a ‘ene ‘aonga fakamamani lahi.
C. Ko e ngaahi Monu'ia ma'ae kau toulekeleka ta'u 75 ‘o fai hake.
‘I he mahina ni, Siulai 2012 ‘e fakahoko ‘e he Pule'anga ‘i he tokoni ‘a e Pangike Fakalakalaka ‘a ‘Esia (Asian Development Bank) pea mo e Sino'i Pa'anga Tokoni ‘a Siapani ke Fakasi'isi'i e Masiva (Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction) ‘a e tokoni makehe fakapa'anga ki he kau toulekeleka ‘oku tukuhausia ‘i Tonga ni.
Kuo toe tuku atu foki ‘i he ‘aho ni ki he Sino'i Pa'anga Malolo Fakafonua ki he Ngaahi Monu'ia ‘o e Malolo mei he Ngaue kenau toe tokanga'i mo fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi totongi monu'ia koeni ki he kau toulekeleka ‘o e fonua. ‘Oku ‘amanaki ke lava ‘o kamata ‘a e ngaahi ngaue ki he totongi ko'eni ‘i he mahina ko Sepitema ‘o e ta'u ni pe.
‘Oku kei tukupa ‘a e Pule'anga ke malu'i ‘a e mo'ui ‘a e kakai tukuhausia ‘o e fonua fakatatau ki he ngaahi fakangatangata ‘o e me'a ‘oku ma'u. ‘Oku fehangahangai ‘a e fonua mo e ngaahi liliu fakasosiale lahi. Ko e taha ‘o e ngaahi liliu koia ko e ngaahi founga ne tau tauhi ‘aki ‘a e kau tukuhausia ‘o kau ai ‘a e kau toulekeleka ‘i he kuohili kuo faingata'a ‘i he taimi ni.
Ko e taumu'a ‘oku tau feinga ki ai ‘oku makatu'unga ia ke tau lava pe ‘o tauhi kitautolu. Ko e fatongia ke tokonaki ma'ae taimi ‘oku tau malolo ai mei he ngaue ko hotau fatongia fakafo'ituitui pe ‘otautolu pea mo hotau ngaahi famili. Ko hono fakasi'isi'i ‘o e fakafalala ki he fonua ‘e tokoni ia ki he'etau mo'ui fakapa'anga ‘i he kaha'u.
Ko e Poate pe ngaue fo'ou ko'eni ki he ngaahi monu'ia ma'ae kau toulekeleka ‘oku fakataumu'a ke fakahoko 'a ‘etau tukupa ke malu'i ‘a e kau toulekeleka ‘oku nau tukuhausia ‘i he ngaahi taimi faingata'a koeni ‘i Tonga ni.
‘Oku ou ‘oatu ‘a e talamonu ki he Sea mo e Poate ki he Sino'i Pa'anga Fakafonua ki he Ngaahi Monu'ia ‘o e Malolo mei he Ngaue mo e Pule Lahi ‘i he fakahoko ngaue ‘i hono fakasino ‘o e visone ke ‘a Tonga ha fa'ahinga ngaue ‘oku fakamamani lahi ke ne tokoni'i ‘a e kau ngaue Tonga ke nau ma'u ha malolo ‘oku malu mei he ngaue pea mo ha ngaahi monu'ia fe'unga ‘i he taimi koia.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2012. Authorised by the Tonga National Retirement Fund.