14 Nov 2003

Vanuatu finance minister defends changes to workers superannuation fund

11:49 am on 14 November 2003

The Vanuatu Finance Minister, Sela Molisa, says he hopes cuts to employer contributions to the National Provident Fund will only be temporary.

Workers and employers currently pay six percent each into the superannuation fund, but the Government wants the contributions cut to four percent each.

Mr Molisa says the economic situation is very difficult and this is an attempt to give businesses a boost to ensure they do not begin sacking workers.

"I hope it will be just a temporary thing and if the economy picks up again next year we will come back to this issue. At the moment we feel that with the downturn in the economy investors need to be assisted."

Sela Molisa rejects the view of the National Workers' Union that the reduced contributions would be a wage cut.

The Union is planning protests over the changes when Parliament resumes next week.