06/04/2012, 00.00
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Workers to Sri Lankan government: Stop speculating on our pensions

by Melani Manel Perera
The representatives of trade unions are calling to set up a commission to investigate corruption accounts of 'Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), the main pension fund in the country. The EPF money used to buy inflated shares of some national companies. The fund houses the savings of 11 million workers in private and cooperative sectors; 250 thousand farmers, 280 thousand workers in the textile sector.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - An anti-corruption commission formed by politicians and members of trade unions, to ensure transparency in all financial transactions of the 'Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), the largest pension fund in Sri Lanka. The demand is made by the representatives of the Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union (FtzGse, the two main unions in the country), after some operations on the stock exchange by large construction companies and deemed "suspicious." The EPF is controlled by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Anton Marcus, secretary of the Joint FtzGse Union, said at the beginning of 2012 "EPF money was used to purchase inflated shares of Laugfs, Ceylon Grain Elevators and Galadari Hotel. But under Article. 19, 1958 the EPF can invest only in blue chip companies ("large cap equities," the safest ed). But these companies are not part of that category. "

In February, some opposition MPs had promised to refer the issue to the governor of the Central Bank and EPF officials. "However - Marcus says - we have not seen any report." Also, last week the Auditor-General has asked to account for 3.4 million rupees dating back to 2010 and never moved from the EPF Commissioner General of Labour.

"The EPF - adds Anton Marcus - is not only the largest pension fund in Sri Lanka, with over 1 trillion rupees (5.5 billion euros) in its accounts. That money belongs to 11 million employees, working for private and state cooperatives, with over 2.3 million paid in tax in 2010 alone. Besides 280 thousand employees in the textile sector and 250 thousand farmers in the plantations have their savings there. irresponsible officials can not play with the money and the lives of these people. "

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