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KARACHI: Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Sajid Hussain Turi on Thursday vowed to streamline the EOBI matters at earliest.

Speaking at the 9th Employer of the Year Award ceremony organized by Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) at a local hotel, he said the government is committed to solve all issues of the industry to help grow industrialization including those related to the EOBI.

He said the government plans to provide jobs to about 40,000 flood hit people jointly with the ILO, as talks are under way. Turi pointed out that the overseas problems regarding their land disputes are now being solved in 60 days.

So far, this ministry has sent over 2000,000 workers, he said adding that the government has also unblocked thousands of passports as well since April this year.

He assured the employers about facilitating them with regard to the workers’ welfare and social security funds. He acknowledged hurdles about the EOBI, vowing to streamline its mechanism in the shortest possible span.

He appreciated companies for their fair practices, compliance with laws to provide social security healthcare and professional safety to their workers, which resultantly help the industrial growth.

The minister assured that the government will scale up its capacity to end the people overseas and workers’ problems. He said his ministry will help the employers reach out to the concerned quarters of the government to solve their issues.

He also appealed for the help to rehabilitate the flood affectees in the country.

In his welcome address, EFP president Ismail Suttar said the nation needs industrialization spread once again like it was in the past. FTA with China in late 80s ravaged the local cottage industry from bulk imports of finished goods, he told the ceremony.

Till 80s, Pakistan’s growth rate was higher than that of China, he said that the FTA slowed down the entire momentum. He sought a right procedure to regain the industrialization momentum.

He also sought the minister’s help to streamline the EOBI affairs. He said that the country’s industry needs support from the government to diversify its produce and expand its global outreach.

Manzoor Khaliq, officer in-charge of ILO appreciated the EFP for awards initiative and showed his support to the employers. He also appealed for the reemployment of flood affectees, saying that the ILO will also contribute its share according to its capacity.

EFP vice president Zakir Ahmed Khan explained the awards nomination criterion. The minister gave away awards to successful companies.

Earlier, addressing the 69th Annual General Meeting of the EFP, Ismail Suttar said his organization performed well amid devastating Covid-19. He said the Covid left businesses in the US, Europe and Australia ravaged in its wake.

Last year, he said, was also a sort of the Covid-19 continuation during which the EFP managed to serve in a different and better way than normal years. Amid, pandemic crisis, he appreciated the EFP for doing well.

The organization succeeded holding its meetings amid the Corona phase with its members in Sialkot, Faisalabad and Lahore; he said the EFP is committed to the betterment of industrial environment.

He highlighted the functions of EFP around the industry like HR, IR, tourism initiatives and mineral processing etc.

Assuring the members, he said that it is primary obligation of the EFP to respond to the demands and needs of its members.

He also raised some issues pertaining to the EOBI, slow industrial inspections and audits by the government departments and minimum wage procedures. Amid tackling such issues, Suttar said that he found the government “stubborn” to solve them.

He said that the audit procedures by the government departments are from “stone-age” and “stereotyped”. He proposed “harmonization” of audit system for industrial audits.

The inspections and audits by different government departments should be carried out at once and not around year, he said.

He also mentioned Pakistan Business Task Force, which serves as president aimed to highlight the country’s economic issues on global platforms.

Employers and business member organizations are part of PBTF initiative with EFP, FPCCI and the Islamic Chamber and Overseas Chamber, Suttar said.

Zaki Ahmed Khan told the AGM regarding the organization’s yearlong activities. He said that EFP held a historic 100 exporters awards based on top performing companies.

He also informed the members about the EFP deliberations with the ILO. He said that a cotton supply chain project was also completed with Pakistani delegations participating in global conferences. He also called the industry’s issues with the EOBI “critical”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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