Under investment in social protection programs and the mismanagement of available schemes by authorities have added to the burden of private sector workers in Sri Lanka who already suffer from inadequate wages.
Although experts have emphasized the need to develop a basic social security package to protect workers, schemes such as Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) have been ineffectively handled by authorities depriving the workers of maximum returns.
The second report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) tabled in parliament last week highlighted various shortcomings on the part of Employees` Trust Fund board.
The report said that the dividends and interests paid to the members of the ETF for the year 2005 had been reduced to 8.5 percent and that reduction was due to insufficiency of the profit earned during that year.
The report also stated that although in terms of Employees Trust Fund Act every member should be informed of the balance at the end of each year, it had not been complied with in full.
The COPE report also revealed that investments amounting to Rs. 34 million had been written off against the profit for the year under review as finance expenses.
Experts say that while the state funds such as EPF and ETF are mismanaged the authorities have failed to streamline the social protection framework in order to provide maximum benefits to workers.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Sri Lanka`s average share of public social security expenditure is only 2.2 percent of the GDP which is very low compared to some other Asian countries. In some developing countries the figure is as high as 25 percent of the GDP. Countries like India and Vietnam have also allocated a share of about eight percent for the purpose.