Sri Lanka private worker pension funds pays 12.5-pct

Mar 12, 2011 (LBO) – A pension fund of private citizens of Sri Lanka worth 900 billion rupees, the island’s biggest investment fund, has paid 12.5 percent to its beneficiaries in 2010 its state managers said. The central bank said annual contributions rose 12.5 percent and active members increased 9.5 percent “reflecting the increased new employment opportunities in the economy.”

The fund had earned a gross income of 121.3 billion rupees, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier. It earned 118 billion from government securities where 94 percent of the fund is invested.

In 2010 it had also invested 32 billion rupees in equity, pushing up the proportion in stock to 5.0 percent from 1.3 percent a year earlier. The fund said in had earned 1.5 billion rupees in capital gains and was sitting on a further 16.2 billion rupees in unrealized gains.

The Central Bank says by end 2011, the fund will top 1,000 billion rupees.

The Employees Provident Fund had grown 16.9 percent to 900 billion rupees by end 2010. It had received 54.8 billion rupees as compulsory member contributions from private sector workers and paid out 34.9 billion as refunds to members and heirs.

Sri Lanka’s state workers do not have a contributed contributory pension and are paid pensions out of general tax revenues. Sri Lanka’s rulers in power as well as in the opposition and a few of their acolytes get a pension after just five years in office.

The double digit payout rate is higher than the 6.9 percent annual inflation generated by the Central Bank in 2010.

The EPF is managed by a unit of Sri Lanka’s central bank, which critics have said has been mis-used for financial repression helping create bubbles, economic instability and high inflation in the past, resulting in negative real returns for its members.