ISLAMABAD: Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani on Wednesday said that the Pakistan Peoples Party was prepared to contest the general elections, but the party believed that electoral reforms should be carried out first.
“Only electoral reforms can ensure that the next general elections are held in a fair and transparent manner,” the labour and human resources minister said while speaking to media.
Sindh ministers, including Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, arrived in the federal capital to sign an agreement between the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (SESSI) and the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) to improve issuance of Benazir Mazdoor Cards (BMCs) to workers in Sindh.
Mr Ghani along with his delegation held a meeting with Nadra chairman Tariq Malik at Nadra headquarters.
Contract signed with Nadra on Benazir Mazdoor Card for private sector workers
The ministers said that incumbent coalition government might have to take certain unpopular decisions due to serious economic condition and it was essential that all concerned political parties joined hands to take the required steps.
At the same time, the Sindh cabinet members lamented delay by the federal government in devolving the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) to the provinces.
While Mr Ghani informed about his meeting with Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Rights Sajid Turi, he said, “After 18th Amendment, federal labour department has been devolved to provinces, but devolution of the EOBI and the Worker Welfare Fund is still under way.”
He announced that the Sindh government was working towards merging the EOBI, the Workers Welfare Fund and the Mines Labour Welfare Organisation and making an umbrella law to bring all labour-related services under one roof.
Mr Ghani said that the federal labour department had completely been devolved in Punjab, but Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were still lagging behind.
“I have asked Mr Sajid Turi to complete the devolution of the EOBI and the WWF Board so that Sindh can fulfil its plans,” he said.
Informing about the BMC, Mr Ghani said that Sindh had become the first province to start issuing smart Benazir Mazdoor Cards to registered industrial workers in Sindh.
He explained that under the scheme Sindh had so far issued 37,000 smart cards to registered industrial workers in the province.
But, he said that there had been delays in the issuance of the BMCs due to a shortage of data entry operators.
He said a fresh accord had been signed with Nadra for hiring services of 162 more data entry operators for fast update of data.
The labour minister said that in the first phase of the project, BMCs would be issued to some 625,000 industrial workers registered with SESSI.
He said that SESSI had been running a network of five hospitals and 42 dispensaries for the provision of necessary health facilities to registered workers and their family members in Sindh.
He said that the basic aim behind the issuance of the BMCs was bringing about transparency and accountability in the process of providing due benefits to the bona fide labourers so that pilferages in the system should end.
He said that in the second phase, the BMCs would be issued to the labourers belonging to the informal sector who were mostly self-employed like pushcart vendors, taxi and rickshaw drivers.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022