- At present, only industrial workers are entitled to the benefits of scheme
Sindh Minister for Labour Saeed Ghani announced on Monday that the province would extend the benefits of the Benazir Mazdoor Card to all labourers in Sindh.
Speaking at a press conference, he said that at currently only industrial workers are entitled to the social security benefits under the Benazir Mazdoor Card and Sindh will be the first province to widen its scope to cover all labourers.
“Personal drivers of individuals as well as rickshaw or taxi drivers will also be able to benefit,” he said.
However, he said extending the scope of the scheme will take more than 2-3 months because nearly 625,000 Mazdoor Cards are stilll being processed under the first phase of registration.
In May last year, Sindh launched the scheme, aimed at enabling workers to avail benefits related to education, health, marriage grants, financial assistance, scholarships and pensions.
Ghani said the scheme is revolutionary and bigger than the Benazir Income Support Programme (a social safety net programme launched by the federal government in 2008) with endless benefits, adding that the government is committed to the rights of labourers.
Recalling his meeting with Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Rights Sajid Turi, Ghani lamented the delay in the completion of devolution of Employees' Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund to the provinces.
“After 18th amendment, federal labour department was devolved to the provinces. However, the devolution of EOBI and Worker Welfare Fund is still underway,” he noted.
“Sindh has taken a lead in creating a framework for provincial labour departments and provincial counterparts of EOBI and Workers Welfare Fund are already established.”
He announced that the government was now working towards merging EOBI, the Workers Welfare Fund and the Mines Labour Welfare Organization and making an umbrella law to bring all labour-related services under one roof.
According to him, Punjab has made good progress with regard to devolving of the federal labour department but Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are still lagging behind.
“I asked Turi to complete devolution of EOBI and Workers Welfare Board so that Sindh can fulfil its plans,” he told the participants. “The federal government and rest of the provinces will follow our strategy.”