June 23, Colombo: The Pensions Department will begin paying gratuity for pensioners from today on the instructions of the President, the Director General of Pensions Sunil Hettiarachchi said.
The Director General said the gratuity will be paid under the circular of 05/2014 to17,200 public sector pensioners. The Treasury has allocated the necessary funds amounting to Rs. 1 billion, the official said.
The Department expects to complete the payment within two weeks. Issuing of checks to the relevant departments will commence from today.
The All Ceylon Trade Union Federation charged that over 18,000 public sector pensioners have not received Rs 700 million in pension gratuity for three years since the funds allocated have been spent by the government on other activities, including the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
A new circular issued by the Department of Pensions in March this year suggested making arrangements for the pensioners to obtain the gratuity in the form of a loan from a state bank.
However, the trade unions protested the move and demanded the government to quicken the payment of gratuity under the old scheme which paid the gratuities from the pensions Department.
The President intervened and instructed the Pensions Department to pay the gratuities according to the old system.
Accordingly, the Pensions Department revoked the circular numbered as 04/2014 with immediate effect from 19 June 2014, and decided to revert to the old system of paying by the Department.