The Sri Lanka Social Security Board of Social Service and Social Welfare ministry will shortly introduce pension package schemes for self employed and informal sector employees in order to strengthen the social security to ensure to live with dignity, when they reach age of 60 years.
Addressing a news conference held at Information Department the Secretary of the ministry V. Jegarajasingham said that according to statistics the elderly population comprise 10 percent of the population but with the improvement of the life span, the elderly population will be increased up to 23 percent by 2020.
Mrs. Jegarajasingham said the Social Service Ministry apart from responsibilities to support physical or mentally disabled people, was also responsible to look after the elderly population and rehabilitate street population.
According to statistics ?two million people are either self employed or in the informal sector, which is about 28 percent of the population. ?Most of the housewives involved in self employment, the masons , pre school teachers, those who are engaged in textile industry and small industries, and ayurvedic doctors are hardly interested in having systematic savings?.
In order to ensure social security for these sectors of the population when they reach sixty years without coming on to the streets or elders welfare homes, the Social Security Board of the ministry has introduced pension schemes inviting self employed and informal sector employees to join.
General Manager of the Social Security Board Christy Nesiah said that within two weeks they would implement those different pension packages through District Secretariats and would reach the people through Grama Niladaries, Samurdhi development officers, Samurdhi Managers, Social Service officers. The people who enter the scheme could pay their premium through state banks such as People`s Bank, National Savings Bank and Bank of Ceylon.
Mr. Nesiah said that the people between the age of 18 to 56 could enroll for this scheme and people would be given option to select the pension packages depending on how much they expected to get as a monthly pension when they reached sixty years. The individuals had to decide the amount of the premium they should pay whether they prefer to pay monthly, quarterly, annually or the total premium.
Chairman of Social Security Board Lakshman Muthukumarana said that the Board would celebrate its 10th anniversary this year and had decided to expand the pension scheme to self employed and informal sector.
He said that under social security Board pension scheme already about 125,000, a very limited group of people have enrolled for very limited benefits. And out of those beneficiaries 2000 of them were receiving a monthly pension. But under the new schemes the beneficiaries would be given many benefits even if they become partly or totally disabled before they reach age of 60 years.
Mrs. Jegarajasingham said in order to commence this programme the government had already granted Rs.28.6 million and through a recent Cabinet paper another Rs.71.4 million to Sri Lanka Security Board.