Irregularities at insurance scheme for migrant workers
Sri Lanka’s newest insurance scheme for migrant workers to countries in West Asia through an agreement between the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and the Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Company has been stained with irregularities and financial misappropriation, a Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) recent report exposed.
It has been observed that there were irregularities in awarding the tender to a prospective bidder although the acceptable tender procedure has been followed with regard to the implementation of this insurance scheme.
However the tender was awarded to a company (an agent selected by the bureau) which quoted a highest bid value of US$ 200 per premium without considering the bids of $90 and 100 according to personal preferences, the COPE revealed.
Even though the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) disclosed to the Cabinet of Ministers that they will offer the insurance cover, the SLIC has delegated the duty to the agent selected by the SLBFE, without any procurement process resulting in a financial fraud of Rs. 07 billion, the audit report revealed. COPE has directed the Auditor General to present a special audit report with details of the agreement between the Bureau and the Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Company, which is an insurance company in Kuwait and the loss that occurred due to this deal.
It has also directed the Secretary to the Foreign Employment Ministry to conduct an independent internal audit relating to this agreement and present a report to the Committee within a month.
The new insurance scheme came into effect on January 15, 2023.
Under this scheme, the employer hiring the Sri Lankan must obtain the insurance cover and the insurance certificate must be provided by the employee in order to obtain registration at the SLBFE for foreign employment.
During the employment period, in the event the employee passes away or is permanently disabled due to an accident, a sum of $15,000 will be provided as insurance compensation, and if partially disabled due to an accident a sum of $10,000 will be awarded through the insurance scheme.
In addition, the insurance scheme will also provide medical cover for surgeries and epidemic illnesses such as COVID-19 while if a female is at a safe house, a daily compensation figure of $10 will be provided for expenses.
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