Apr 19, Colombo: Parliamentarian of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP), economist Dr. Harsha de Silva says the Rs 1.3 trillion private sector retirement fund, Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) has still not submitted to Parliament its audited accounts for the year 2011 as required by law.
MP de Silva issuing a statement has said that although the issue has been constantly raised in parliament, the EPF has failed to release its annual audit reports. "It is a national tragedy," the MP said.
Explaining that currently, the trillion-rupee plus fund of 2.5 million private sector employees is managed exclusively by a unit at the Central Bank, the opposition MP said the authorities have failed "miserably" in their duty to submit the audited accounts fund for the last two and a half years.
"This is notwithstanding the cynical press releases by the Central Bank 'warning' the public not to be misled by 'certain politicians' who have been repeatedly alleging that EPF's audited accounts have not been submitted since 2010," Ceylon Today quoted the MP as saying.
He claimed that many allegations have been made on massive stock market manipulation rackets involving the EPF and certain white collar criminals.
The MP explained that the criminals manipulating the stock market have sold shares at highly inflated prices to the EPF and become billionaires while in the process EPF is losing billions. Most of these rackets took place between 2010 and 2012, he noted.
MP de Silva charged that the country's share market regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) however, has not taken any action against these fraudulent "pump-and-dump" mechanisms.
The MP said the time has come for drastic reform in the way the EPF is managed to ensure that the pension fund is managed properly and the agent becomes accountable to its principals.
He suggested that at least two to three employee representatives to be appointed to the investment committee of the EPF so that the fund will be safeguarded until the reforms are undertaken.
MP de Silva pointed out that the millions of private sector employees who contribute part of their earnings every month so that they could retire in peace must ask for this to be done immediately.