Bonus Stocking

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

All pensioners are in for a New Year bonus, with a ten percent hike in pensions from January 1 2004, the Government announced in its budget on Wednesday.rn

ldblquote This is the largest increase granted to pensioners during the past ten years. This increase will cost the Government Rs.2.5 bn
dblquote , Finance Minister Choksy said in Parliament today.rn

rnThe Pensions Office set up recently will also draw up options to tackle anomalies in pension payments between older retirees and lower grade employees who retire later. rn

rnPeople retired for many years receive substantially smaller pensions than employees who retire later due to salary scale changes since the retirement of the first group.rn

rnWith inflation curbed and the Central Bank cutting its policy interest rates four times in the first ten months, high commercial interest rates have also been reined in.rn

rnldblquote The reduction in interest rates is a sign of a healthy economy. Hardships that may be caused to certain sectors such