THE Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution pension was last increased from Rs3,600 to Rs5,250 per month effective from April 1, 2015. This raise is a pittance despite the almost 46 per cent increase. Prior to this the EOBI pension was increased from Rs 3,000 to Rs3,600 per month in January 2012.
The EOBI pension is given to eligible ex-employees of industrial and commercial establishments and is increased by meager amounts after gaps of many years in-between.
Contrary to this, the already reasonable pensions of government employees continue to be increased with more frequency whenever the federal government announces the fiscal budget.
The EOBI is currently entangled in legal issues and the chances of it extricating itself in the near future seem bleak. These issues can only be resolved by the federal and the Sindh governments in cooperation with each other, provided they show the will and commitment.
The latter had promulgated the Sindh Employees Old-Age Benefits Act, 2014 after the passage of the 18th Amendment but has so far not constituted an institution to administer the scheme.
In view of these facts does it appear logical to deprive pensioners of an increase in their pension amounts after a lapse of almost three years? Why should the EOBI pensioners have to suffer because of someone else’s blunders.
Since the federal government is still managing this scheme, I request the finance minister to find a way of allowing an increase for pensioners to make it at least Rs 7,000 per month with immediate effect.
This meager enhancement is the least we can do for our senior citizens, the majority of whom are poor and deserving of the little extra allowed them.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2018