Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has successfully utilised the Right to Information (RTI) Act to request and receive information relating to the policy and investments of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank recently facilitated TISL’s RTI request by releasing information which outlines the criteria used by the EPF to evaluate investment opportunities, and which illustrates the distribution of investments across the EPF portfolio. Moreover, details of annual EPF investments in companies quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), for the five-year period 2012-2016, have also been provided.
The release of this information sheds light on an interesting pattern in the annual EPF investments in companies quoted on the CSE from 2012-2016. Whilst Rs. 5 billion, 8.1 billion and 4.8 billion, respectively, were invested in companies on the CSE during the 2012-2014 period, these figures fell dramatically in the following two years. 2015 and 2016 saw investments in companies quoted on the CSE drop to Rs.1.3 billion in both years. This change in investment pattern made by the Central Bank coincides with the change of government in 2015. It is also noteworthy that government investments in listed equities account for only 4% of the total portfolio, while investments in government securities constitute a significant 93% of the portfolio.
The receipt of this information was made possible by the RTI Act which came into effect in Sri Lanka in February 2017. TISL has been a long-time advocate of RTI and the transparency and accountability it generates within institutions of state. As such, TISL has been active in filing multiple public interest RTI requests with a diverse range of public authorities. (Colombo Gazette)