By IAN M.KAUKUI
THE roll out of the 10% tax refund to ‘youSave lo mobile’ members of National Provident Fund (NPF) announced by the Minister of Finance last month has boosted members’ savings.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the two national mobile network operators (MNOs), the Solomon Telekom Company Limited and BeMobile, SINPF General Manager Mike Wate said the announcement enables ‘youSave lo Mobile’ members who use part of their taxed airtime credits for their savings under ‘youSave.’
Wate said at the same time, the SINPF with the support of the 2 MNO’s reduced the minimum deposit from $10 to $5 which becomes another new feature under the youSave lo mobile scheme.
He said with the removal of the previous 10% tax and the reduction to the minimum $5 deposit, there was a significant increase in the number of daily deposits that they have experienced right from day one on 24th August 2020.
“And from that day the announcement was made, the daily deposits now had increased from 239 deposits per day which roughly 90% increase from the previous average of about 125 deposits per day.
“That’s a quite big increase to us and to the two MNO’s because it tells us that the removal of the 10% tax was a very strong incentive for members to use the youSave lo mobile service to save for their future.
“The tax is usually a big burden to them and when the government removes it, members can save almost all that they want to save in their accounts,” he added.
Meanwhile, Wate said for the period 24 August 2020 to 8 September a total of 316 new members had registered as youSave new members under youSave lo Mobile service excluding physical registrations.
He said the current youSave membership has reached 18,858 savers with a net contribution balance of $14.5M.
However, he said this contributions means that they have already saved up to $20m but as it was designed, part of it has to go to their general savings account which members can withdraw and another part of it has to be reserved until their retirement age.
Wate said with the strong feedback from the new and existing members, the communities and the two MNOs to use the youSave loMobile after the 10% tax refund to save for their future, the SINPF youSave team will be working closely with the two mobile providers to reach out throughout the communities to secure more members.
He said currently they are now working on a concept to consider how youSave members can digitally draw their savings.
Meanwhile, Wate said SINPF launched the youSavelo Mobile service in November 2019 under a partnership with the two mobile providers where the informal sector can register and save under the SINPF youSave Retirement Scheme from the comforts of their home.