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Labour Minister seeks World Bank assistance to introduce a Pension and social security scheme for private sector


Since the formulation of a social security and pension scheme aimed at enhanced welfare of employees of the formal an informal sectors of the private sector is a timely need, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva appeals for World Bank support for such a scheme. The Minister’s appeal came during a meeting with a World Bank delegation held this morning (20) at the Ministry of Labour.


The Minister pointed out to the World Bank delegates that even though many employment opportunities are available in the country’s private sector for young men and women, they have little interest in them as they only want jobs in the public sector. He opined that this was primarily due to the strong pension and social security scheme for public sector employees which is not available for private sector employees save for the benefits of the Employees’ Provident Fund and the Employees’ Trust Fund.


Noting that the absence of a safety net under the EPF and ETF for workers who lose their jobs in a calamity like the Covid-19 pandemic is a serious shortcoming, the Minister claimed that the Ministry of Labour is working towards addressing this problem.   Therefore the Minister said that the intention of the government was to establish a robust pension and social security scheme ensuing job security for all employees of both the formal and informal sectors of the private sector. The Minister said that discussions had already been initiated in this regard with the International Labour Organization and requested the support of the World Bank too for the success of the programme. Responding to the Minister’s request, the World Bank delegation said that the most of the developed countries had already implemented pension and social security schemes best suited to their own countries and added that such a programme had been introduced to the Maldives, a neighbouring country of Sri Lanka.


The Labour Minister urged the World Bank extend technical support for the formulation of a suitable scheme for Sri Lanka subsequent to a proper evaluation of the present situation in Sri Lanka and a financial grant as initial capital required for the establishment of a pension and social security scheme. The delegation requested the Minister to make a formal request in this regard to the World Bank through the National Planning Department and the External Resources Department of the Ministry of Finance.


The World Bank delegation included Mr. Rene Leon Solano, a Practice Leader for Human Development at the World Bank who coordinates activities in Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka and Mr. Thomas Walker, a senior economist in the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. The Secretary of the Ministry of Labour Mr. M.P.S.U.K. Mapa Pathirana too was present at the discussion.