‘GOVT. PLANNING TO INVEST EPF-ETF IN CSE’

Published : 8:50 am  November 17, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (408) reads | 

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BY LAHIRU POTHMULLA

The real intention in setting up a private sector pension scheme by merging the EPF and the ETF is to invest these funds in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) by handing over their administration to a private fund manager, UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane said yesterday.

He said it was unwise to invest the EPF-ETF funds amounting to Rs.1.7 trillion, the largest fund in South Asia, in the stock exchange because it would put the future of private sector employees at risk. “Investing in the CSE is similar to gambling. You never know the outcome. Sometimes you may benefit but sometimes you will lose all your investments.

Therefore, it is not acceptable to risk the EPF-ETF fund,” Mr. Gunawardane said. He said the then Finance Minister T.B. Illangaratne who created the EPF appointed the Central Bank as its caretaker. He said the fund which had a balance of Rs.405 billion when the government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over had grown up to Rs.1,442 billion by the time his government took office. “Because of wise investment of the fund, it had increased by 25 per cent annually.

Though the government could invest up to 10 per cent in the CSE, the previous government had only invested about six per cent. The profits earned last year was Rs.152 billion. And the rest was invested in Treasury Bonds and Bills,” Mr. Gunawardene said. He said if the administration of the fund was handed over to a fund manager, it would take the final decision on releasing the funds inclusive of how much the government could use for Treasury Bills. He said the SLFP would not agree to this move because it was one of the SLFP ministers, who created the fund. “We request President Maithripala Sirisena, the SLFP Chairman, not to allow this to happen,” Mr. Gunawaradne said.

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