Bilawal says Centre-IMF deal barring industrial growth, affecting labour rights
The Sindh government issued on Saturday the Benazir Mazdoor Card for labourers across the province.
It will help provide all necessary benefits and facilities such as education, health, marriage grants, financial assistance, scholarships and pensions to labourers.
The Sindh Labour Department launched the Benazir Mazdoor Card at a ceremony at the CM House in Karachi.
In his address, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the federal government-IMF deal has badly affected industrial growth in the country and deprived workers of their rights.
He urged the Centre to direct the FBR to immediately stop collection of Workers Welfare Fund and transfer the funds collected so far to the Sindh government.
Bilawal noted that it was former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who introduced labour-friendly policies in the country. There used to be trade unions to project their [workers’] rights, he said.
But when dictator General Zia-ul-Haq came into power, he snatched away all those rights, the PPP chairman said.
He said former PM Benazir Bhutto during her first tenure returned all these rights to workers, strengthened them and created more employment opportunities.
Bilawal said the federal government’s deal with the IMF has badly affected industrial growth. “When industrial growth stops, employment opportunities shrink,” he said.
The PPP chairman lamented that thousands of workers have been rendered jobless because industrial production has declined.
He congratulated the Sindh government for launching the Benazir Mazdoor Card and directed the chief minister to enhance its benefits.
Bilawal said that the former PPP government strengthened the agriculture and industrial sectors. “We had issued Benazir Income Support Card to poor women so that they could meet their needs,” he said.
In his address, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said his government believed in serving the poorest of the poor, including vulnerable segments of the society, and was committed to provide them their due status and respect.
Under the 18th Amendment, he said, the Concurrent Legislative List has been abolished and all subjects enumerated in the list, including Labour, have been devolved to the provinces.
“I am proud to say that the provincial government has enacted 16 Labour friendly Laws,” CM Shah said.
According to the Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani, the card is a “one of its kind initiative” in any province for the welfare of labourers and daily wagers.
The card will be issued to every labourer in the province under which free education, healthcare and old-age benefits will be provided. In case of accidental death, the family of the worker will be given compensation as well.
The Benazir Bhutto Mazdoor Card agreement was signed between the Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution (SESSI) and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) last year.
The government hopes to curb corruption in the labour department with the cards and extend the reach of its aid to more people.
Labourers will be able to get their “modern and flawless” smart cards from NADRA, which will also use the programme to computerise the registration of labourers and their families.