‘Manusavi’ Pension Scheme launched for SL migrant workers

The Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment has introduced a new pension scheme for Sri Lankan migrant workers.

“Manusavi’ has been introduced as a Social Security Contributory Pension Scheme for Sri Lankan migrants employed overseas.

The scheme was launched by Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment on September 26,2022

Minister Nanayakkara said that it was possible to start the ‘Manusavi’ Pension Scheme to fulfill a long-standing aspiration of migrant workers.

The “Manusavi” Social Security Contributory Pension Scheme has been introduced to strengthen the retirement life of those engaged in foreign employment.

The minister vowed he will soon initiate a social security network that will secure the lives of every worker in this country in the future. 

Minister Manusha Nanayakkara while launching the new Pension Scheme for Sri Lankan migrant workers further said; “In the name of humanity, we wanted to appreciate the yeomen service rendered by the migrant workers towards the wellbeing and development of the country. Today we are appreciating and showing our gratitude to our migrant workers who have made enormous sacrifices on behalf of the country. They are today helping the country get the oil, medicine, and LP gas which are in short supply. But I have to say their services have not been appreciated as they should have been for a long time.”

Today we were able to start ‘Manusavi’ social security contributory pension scheme for migrant workers in the name of humanity. Social Security Board, Ministry of Social Empowerment, and Foreign Employment Bureau have done exceptional work here. In the name of humanity, we thank all those who have supported making the ‘Manusavi’ pension scheme a reality.

He said a migrant worker can join this pension scheme at the time of going abroad for employment.  If a monthly amount of 11 US dollars is directed to this for four years according to one’s discretion, after 55 years, a monthly pension of a minimum of 20,000 rupees will be entitled to a migrant worker at the start. That’s the starting point. But a migrant worker has the opportunity to choose a plan of his or her choice according to their wishes. You have the freedom to plan your future retirement according to your salary and wishes.

In the future, efforts are being made to further improve this and expand its benefits further. Ministry of Social Security, Social Security Board has a leading responsibility in further developing this programme. We want to stabilize the people of the country with a good social security programme. We want to create a social safety net that can protect every person in society. 

Because of this lack of social security, we are a country that has come under severe pressure. The Ministry of Labour is preparing a programme to create a safety net to help and take care of a worker when he or she is in distress. We are striving to help the workforce of this country. As the Department of Labour, we have considered a comprehensive social security system, such as how to protect our workers in case of job loss, in case of compensation, in case of partial or total disability, in case of health emergencies and sudden death. We are striving to expand this to help i ndividuals after retirement as well, the minister said.

Addressing the gathering, the minister further said, “A political crisis was created in accordance with the economic problem that was gradually built up in the country. The country and society have come to a serious situation due to the shortage of dollars, shortage of food, doubling and tripling of the prices by the moneylenders, creating trade monopolies and making huge profits and putting people under serious pressure. Our society, which used to have a tradition of exchanging ‘kavum’ and other avurudu sweets for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, is shedding such practices due to difficult conditions. This was so serious that the vehicles on the road were stopped and the fuel was forcibly extracted. When the people of the country due to difficulties were setting aside humanity and losing their good qualities, like the businessmen, a decision had to be taken in the name of humanity.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe or we would not have taken this political decision if we only thought about power. There are no statistics to show how many people in the country died in fuel queues due to lack of medicine and when electricity is cut off for ten or twelve hours. So we had to think only about humanity instead of politics. Therefore, we took this decision in the name of humanity. Putting aside our personal interests and political future, this decision was taken in the name of humanity. It was a very difficult decision politically. That is why we requested people to come together in the name of humanity and get out of this situation. People who understand people’s suffering and feel their heartbeat join us. But some people told our migrant workers not to send money until their government comes to power. They said that when they came to power they would bring a billion dollars a month, and asked migrant workers to not send money now. They have been saying this since 1972 and how much longer do our people have to suffer until that day comes? What they are trying to say is you should not send dollars, until the people of this country suffer immensely and keep dying on the streets?  But migrant workers who value humanity sent dollars to the country in the name of humanity. Foreign remittances, which had fallen to 220 USD, became 320 USD by August. That is because of humanity. Money was sent to the country legally because of humanity. That is why we treat them in the name of humanity.

The airport created a gateway of hope for migrant workers who received step-motherly treatment. We gave them the highest duty-free relief in the history of this country. A vehicle import permit was given to give value to their remittances at a time when no one in the country could import a vehicle. The rules and regulations that hindered immigration were amended. That is because we should extend the hands of humanity to them for their duty to the country. While doing all this in a very short period of time, there was another thing that could not be done for a long time. We talked about this since 2012. In the 2015 policy statement of the government, it is also said that a pension will be provided for migrant workers. But it could not be implemented until this moment” the minister said. 

Minister of State for Labour and Foreign Employment Jagath Pushpakumara, and Minister of State for Social Empowerment Anupa Pascua, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment R.P. A. Wimalaweera, Foreign Employment Bureau Chairman Mahendra Kumarasinghe, General Manager Priyantha Senanayake, Sri Lanka Social Security Board Chairman Saman Hadaragama, General Manager Prasanna Kaluarachchi and many other officials were also present.