This is with reference to the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), and the point raised by Mr R. Haque (July 8) regarding the age limit for becoming eligible to receive EOBI pension.

On Labour Day (May 1) the prime minister had announced that the age limit for entitlement to EOBI pension to be 50 years instead of 55 years in respect of the Kankunan meaning miners, which was misunderstood as Karkunan meaning workers.

Under Section 22 of the Employees Old-Age Benefits Act, 1976, age limit for men was fixed at 60 and 55 for women through an amendment in the Act in 1986. In the case of miners, in 2002 it was reduced to 55 for those who had worked for at least 10 years in this occupation immediately preceding their retirement.

In most organisations, the retirement age for employees, especially men, has been fixed at 60.

Therefore, it appears logical that institutions like EOBI should also start paying the pensions from this age.

The age relaxation in the case of miners is understandable as the occupational hazards contribute to affecting their health adversely.

Moreover, thousands of new pensioners are added to the EOBI scheme every year; hence, its survival becomes difficult unless huge funds are constantly pumped in by the insured organisations. Fixing lesser age for pension eligibility may cause total collapse of the scheme.

I want to bring to the notice of EOBI officials the difficulties employers of a large workforce are facing in receiving the registration cards of their new employees.

The process of filling out registration forms and the completion of other related formalities of new employees are done by the employers, who transmit them to EOBI electronically.

Previously the EOBI used to provide registration cards to the employers but for the last few months they have been sending them through courier service directly to the employees' residences.

The employers are, therefore, not aware whether or not their new employees have received the cards. On the other hand, the employees keep asking the employer about the same.

I therefore request that the previous system of handing over the completed cards to employers be revived for the convenience of all.

PARVEZ RAHIM
Karachi

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