Following the successful pilot project last year, the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) has announced a nationwide roll-out of their micropension account for Solomon Islanders active in the informal economy, who make up 80% of the population.
Officially launched by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance & Treasury, Manasseh Sogavare, the new youSave account gives all Solomon Islanders the opportunity to save voluntarily for their retirement.
Funded by the UN’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), the project aims to enroll 20,000 Solomon Islanders by the end of 2020 and will contribute to improved access to financial services, given that only 34% of the adult population of the Solomon Islands use any form of financial services.
The majority of the unbanked are women and rural dwellers, who SINPF field teams will reach and on-board through door-to-door visits. Sign up will also take place at all major centres like market places and retail stores, and focus on agriculture and tourism sectors. Once registered, Solomon Islanders will be able to easily make regular small pension payments through their mobile phone using ANZ’s goMoney platform. ANZ goMoney Merchants will also act as Agents to assist SINPF with collecting member contributions.
To ease the time-consuming and cumbersome manual sign up process, the SINPF will roll out an automated system, which will enable capturing of customer records and their biometric fingerprint using Android-based tablets connected to the internet. At the same time, the new SINPF members will instantly receive their membership card. This system will also provide a solution for many Solomon Islanders who lack the necessary formal IDs.
PFIP’s Financial Inclusion Specialist Isaac Holly said that currently the informal economy uses informal ways to save, like hiding money under a mattress, but these methods are unsecure and will not be enough for the long-term needs.
“Through the youSave account, Solomon Islanders can make small contributions that will earn them investment returns and give them peace of mind that their money is secure.”