Sumanthiran challenges major parties to commit to EPF Act reforms

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 03:25 –      – 23

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Tamil National Alliance Jaffna district MP M.A. Sumanthiran

  • Says loss suffered by EPF due to 2015 Bond Scam continues to be shrouded in mystery 
  • Accuses CBSL officials of being aware of losses suffered by EPF and concealing info from citizens 
  • Wants main parties to include key reform in election manifesto 

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna district MP M.A. Sumanthiran is urging all major political parties intending to form a Government to commit to amending the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) Act to ensure that information is disclosed to the public for the benefit of the working class.

During a recent political talk show, Sumanthiran said that while his party would pass the private members’ bill he presented to amend the act, they are unlikely to come into power. Therefore, he challenged other major parties with the potential to form a government to include the amendment in their election promises. Sumanthiran also called on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to release monthly data regarding the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

He pointed out that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) suffered the most significant impact from the 2015 bond scam.

“We are unable to determine the extent of the losses suffered by the EPF. The forensic audit conducted did not effectively focus on the period during which the scam occurred. To date we are unable to obtain information on the scam which took place,” Sumanthiran said.

The MP mentioned that a local think tank tried to acquire the information through a right to information request, which was approved by the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka. However, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has now appealed the decision in court, objecting to the release of the information.

The MP alleged that the government routinely draws from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) during emergencies, and these processes lack transparency.

He pointed out that he introduced a private members’ bill last year to amend the EPF Act. The proposed amendment aims to establish clear requirements for disclosing EPF information regularly and on time, providing sufficient details about the fund to ensure accountability and protect workers’ savings.

Sumanthiran also accused the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) of being aware of the losses suffered by the EPF and concealing this information from the public.

The MP suggested that further amendments to the current legislation should include a provision that prohibits investments using EPF funds from being made at a loss and similar reforms should be made in relation to the Employees Trust Fund (ETF).