KARACHI: The Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) has set up Sahara Insurance Company with a paid-up capital of Rs500 million to give health cover to 339,000 pensioners.

Under the plan, the EOBI will provide health coverage to pensioners for five major diseases including heart, liver and kidney ailments. The premium of the insurance cover will be paid by the Workers Welfare Fund (WWF).

This was disclosed by EOBI Chairman Mohammad Ayub Sheikh at a press briefing held in his office here on Wednesday.

EOBI will also introduce another product by giving insurance cover of up to rupee one million to overseas Pakistanis and will recover its premium from the Bureau of Immigration which charges every intending worker before allowing him to travel abroad for employment, he informed.

Presently, he said, similar insurance coverage is being given by State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) which is limited for two years.

However, since all these institutions are working under the Ministry of Overseas Pakistan and Human Resource Development the matter will be sorted out easily.

Giving details about last year (2013-14), the chairman said that due to reforms based on transparency, EOBI managed to register 5,000 more employers and recover Rs12.75 billion towards pension fund from them, which was 20 per cent higher over the previous year (2012-13).

Assets and investment of EOBI during 2013-14 increased by Rs31bn and expenditure was slashed by 37pc, he said.

He informed that pensioners could now draw money through ATM machines after opening an account in a bank.

He said the EOBI wants to increase the pension amount from Rs3,600 to Rs6,000 per month but there were legal lacunas which cropped up post 18th Amendment.

However, if the federal government gives matching grant it could be enhanced, he added.

Published in Dawn, September 18th , 2014

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