By JEFFREY ELAPA
ACTING Prime Minister and member for Wabag Sam Abal has assured the 40,000 contributors of Nasfund that their superannuation savings will be protected, The National reports.
He said he would not allow their lifetime savings to be burnt for a second time.
Abal assured unions that his priority (as prime minister) “is to protect contributors’ funds from being unscrupulously swindled by persons and institutions entrusted to protect their superannuation savings”.
“We are talking about an issue that is significant to ordinary Papua New Guineans, many of whom are contributors to Nasfund, the hardworking people of this country,” he said.
“I want to assure the contributors that I will deal with the matter of interest to them based on advice that is consistent with the laws of our land, particularly the Superannuation Act regulating the industry.
“To my knowledge, the same contributors who tirelessly work for their living by allowing their savings to grow in superannuation funds such as Nasfund, have been burnt before.
“They have lost a considerable amount of their hard-earned savings, which has not been recovered.
“My interest right now is to protect the contributors’ funds.
“I refuse to stand here and condone sinister activities, especially by those in-the-know and allowing this same group of contributors to be burnt twice over.
“There are many issues arising in relation to the transaction. However, in this instance, I must make sure that their exposure is mitigated.
“I intend to make sure that contributors will not be in any worse position than they were prior to this transaction,” he said.
Abal said the controversy warranted him taking some immediate remedial measures.
He said he was aware that the Central Bank, as regulator of the superannuation industry, had made some findings with certain recommendations based on these findings.
“Additionally, I am aware of the calls by the unions concerned to have certain persons involved in the unpopular deal removed.
“I will be pooling these findings and views of the unions, as well as information available to government together to form the basis of a decision whether to call an inquiry into the matter,” Abal said.
Former treasurer Peter O’Neill had earlier revealed that the transaction was illegal and that the report would be presented to parliament by the acting prime minister.