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Nine percent interest per annum up to 2026 for ETF members reasonable – State Minister of Finance

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State Minister of Finance, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that the nine percent interest per annum the Employees Trust Fund has guaranteed to pay its members until 2026 is an extremely reasonable, as the Central Bank may reduce interest rates to a single digit figure within that time. He said that the interest rate offered by the ETF was 9% in 2018, 8% in 2019 and 2020, 7.25% in 2021 and 8.25% in 2022. The minister made this comment at the launch of the ‘Nipunatha Saviya’ scholarship scheme held at the Department of Labour auditorium on Tuesday (19). Under the new scheme children of ETF member who sat the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A/L) examination in 2022 are eligible to apply for a scholarship valued at Rs 25,000/- to follow a vocational training course of their choice from the 54 courses recommended by the ETF Board. The courses have been recommended by the ETF Board based on a study of the present local and foreign requirement of skilled labour. The scholarship will be released only on the successful completion of the course.

The State Minister said that the new scholarship to undergo Vocational Training was a progressive endeavour and a need of the Nation so that the students who are unable to gain entry to university could secure suitable employment on completion of the training. He pointed that out of the 260,000 to 300,000 students who sit the GCE Advanced Level examination each year, only about 40,000 gain entry to universities and even those who graduate from Universities found it difficult to secure suitable employment. The State Minister said that in addition to employees of any State or private sector organisation, self-employed persons and migrant workers could contribute to the fund on their own and obtain membership and added that at present the value of the members fund was around Rs. 459 billion and active membership of the fund was approximately 2.6 million.

The Employees’ Trust Fund was established on 1st March 1981 under the provisions of ETF Act No. 46 of 1980. The fund is administrated by the Employees’ Trust Fund Board and at present the ETF Board is under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National Policies. The provisions of the Act shall apply to every State & private sector undertaking belonging to any class or category of State or private sector undertaking as is specified in an order made by the Minister and published in the Gazette.

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