Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s 25% Surcharge of EPF and ETF Funds is a Daylight Robbery of the Peoples Retirement Savings of Private Sector Employees


Lucien Rjakarunanayke

Anuradhapura is a place of resonance for Pohottuva politics. It is from here that Gotabaya Rajapaksa made his echoing speech after being sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka, with so much promise of service to the people.

This ancient city of Sri Lankan pride is now the centre of Pohottuva political display. Hanging out the washing of a hugely failed two-plus years, where the Covid pandemic did have some play, but with strong support of Pohottuva politics, and hugely crooked governance with an Executive Presidency and two-thirds power in Parliament. President Gotabaya had to shout out to the country his ability to reach the Saubhagya goals in the next three years.

The brothers of Rajapaksa Power – Gotabaya and Mahinda – were totally ignorant of the repeated warnings of health authorities that political rallies could become the super spreader of Omicron Covid. Who cares! What is more important is Rajapaksa Power Play, even though the crowd there was not as fiercely loud as the Gotabhaya voice.

All the power-play at Anuradhapura was not able to hide the new issue of the Provident Fund – EPF and ETF too – that is the deadly play of brother Basil Rajapaksa. What is the thinking of Gotabhaya, Mahinda, Chamal and Namal too, on this huge robbery of peoples’ savings?

Employees of the State sector, direct government employees, are still sure of their pensions, as they come to retirement — also postponed by Basil R. But the employees of the private sector and state corporations, too, have all their hopes and expectations on the Employees Provident Fund. How could their limited hopes for retirement, and even special payments before, be realised by this new taxation – of 25 percent of the EPF?

The misuse of the EPF is not unusual for members of today’s Pohottuva governance. The former, and current, too, Governor of the Central Bank, did have a play on this money by approving investments in share capital of private companies. The losses on many of such investments have been huge, and family members from CB governance and private capital hoarders and twisters have been hugely involved in such “investment”.

Going through what was revealed in the Central Bank “crookery” under the Yahapalana Regime, with the Prime Minister taking control of the CB from Finance Minister, will give a shocking display of playing out the EPF for personal gain, and the playing out of the EPF contributors – the employees largely of the private sector.

President Gotabaya’s Anuradhapura howls of achieving the Saubhagya promise in the 2019 presidential election, will have no meaning with the new Surcharge Tax goal of Pohottuva governance. Does one begin with Rs. 65 billion this year, and move to higher figures in the coming years?

How much pain will this bring to employees who have been hoping and even dreaming of what the EPF would give them in retirement? What of the marriages of daughters with dowries, the building of small homes, and also putting into savings the cost of future medicines and medical treatment?

What the Gotabaya Team of Pohottu politics is thinking of is a massive robbery of peoples’ savings; the huge strike on their dreams of retirement, and a heavy bang on their health in the coming years.

The ancient city of Anuradhapura, gave us the wonders of history, the arrival of Buddhism, the many great Dagabas, and the tanks and waterways that keep bringing our minds back to the glory of the past. Are we, in the future, to remember Anuradhapura as the city of People Robbery, by a so-called government of the people?

Will Anuradhapura be known as the Centre of People Robbery – Mahajana Horakam Kendraya – that the Rajapaksas have given to the land of peace and dignity, from its ancient days?
The Rajapaksas are certainly moving to activate a new image that Virtue and Splendour promised by Saubhagye Dekma. They are determined to take us to their own age of National Robbery, and people’s mockery.

There will be much more of the Rajapaksa screams as the new political campaign of the Pohottuva goes on to many more stages, while spreading more coronavirus, jaya screams of achieving his own goals in the coming years, and not the hopes of the people.

Courtesy:The Island