Govt. denies EPF allegation

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana yesterday (4) said that the Government had not taken any decision to utilise Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) monies to meet the financial deficit as alleged by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) trade unions last week.

However, Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) President Wasantha Samarasinghe alleged that the Government had explored the possibility of using EPF money, but later on had found that it was not enough to meet the financial requirements.

He told The Sunday Morning that the Government had already used 93% of EPF money on loan repayments and 4% had been invested in the stock market and therefore, it did not have enough funds to use at this moment.

However, the JVP had proposed that the Government issue a disaster bond worth Rs. 200 billion to raise money to provide concessions to the public.

“If the Government goes for a lockdown, it will definitely have to give an allowance of Rs. 20,000 to at least 5.5 million people living in this country and for that, the Government will have to spend around Rs. 110 to Rs. 120 billion, and the rest can be used for other necessary requirements,” Samarasinghe explained. Asked whether the Government had given a positive response, he said it had not responded at all to the proposal.

However, Minister Dr. Gunawardana told The Sunday Morning that the Government had not received any such proposal from the JVP.

Samarasinghe also said that if the Government continued the curfew until 10 April, it would definitely have to give concessions to the private sector as most garment factories hadn’t paid its employees and most other private companies too had delayed payments and if this continued, there would be a big unemployment issue in the future.
–Maheesha Mudugamuwa