Sri Lanka EPF 2011 accounts to be tabled in parliament shortly: Central Bank

Mar 27, 2014 (LBO) – Audited 2011 accounts of Sri Lanka’s Employees’ Provident Fund a retirement fund of private citizens, would be presented to parliament shortly, the Central Bank, its manager said. Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva has repeatedly called for the accounts to be presented to parliament and has also said some of its stock market deals need to be probed.

The Central Bank said EPF’s 2011 accounts have been audited and will be presented to parliament ‘shortly’ by the minister of labour.

Earlier this week, de Silva said a March 2014 deadline promised by the state to submit 2011 audited accounts to parliament has not been met.

The EPF charged that “certain Members of Parliament have been repeatedly making allegations that the EPF financial statements have not been forthcoming, possibly with the intention of to discrediting the EPF and realizing their own political ends.”

EPF asked its member private sector workers “not to be misled by politically motivated statements made by certain politicians.”

The EFP department said the fund’s 2012 accounts are now being audited by the state auditor general.

The 2013 accounts have been given to the ministers of finance and labour. They have also been published in newspaper in three languages.

Even before its entry into the stock market in a big way, EPF investments have come under fire partly due to a conflicts of interest.

Critics have claimed that it had invested workers’ money in government securities at rates lower than the market and had assisted in financial repression by undermining the market overall.

By keeping rates below market it could have also helped worsen balance of payments problems and inflation pressures reducing the real value of the principle as well as returns through currency depreciation and inflation.

As part of efforts made from mid 1990s by the Central Bank to end 30 years chronic inflation and economic instability an auction process was introduced for government securities.

But the auction process has been undermined through so-called ‘placements’ analysts say, undermining economic stability, especially when state spending goes out of control or state enterprises run big losses.

The Central Bank is also responsible for selling government securities, a task which analysts have called for to be given to a separate agency ending an egregious conflict of interest.