The Parliamentary Committee on Government Accounts has emphasized the critical need for the Labour Department to establish a continuously updated data system, stressing its importance for public safety. This urgent recommendation emerged from a meeting chaired by State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, which reviewed the Auditor General’s reports for 2021 and 2022 and evaluated the current performance of the Labour Department.

A significant issue raised during the meeting was the underutilization of financial resources allocated by the government to improve this digital data system. Shockingly, 84% of the funds allocated for 2021, 53% for 2022, and a staggering 91% for 2023 have remained unused. This substantial underutilization of allocated funds has delayed the essential digitalization process.

Officials clarified that once employers register with the Labour Department, the relevant Employee Provident Fund (EPF) payments are made to the Central Bank, which then provides payment data to the Labour Department every six months. However, the committee underscored the necessity of a system that allows for continuous updates rather than relying on biannual data collection. Continuous updates are deemed crucial for ensuring public safety.

The committee has called for a prompt joint meeting between the Central Bank and the Labour Department to discuss and implement this digital data system. The delays in digitalization have been attributed to the proposal for establishing a National Labour Market Information System. Nonetheless, the committee expressed regret over these delays and suggested that there might be intentional stalling by certain parties.

In summary, the committee has highlighted the urgent need for a digital data system for EPF payments, stressing that timely updates are essential for public safety. Immediate action from the relevant authorities is necessary to utilize the allocated funds effectively and prevent further delays.

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