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> Federal Oversight is necessary in Labour Affairs after Devolution: Experts
PILDAT Consultative Session
April 21, 2011


Islamabad; April 21, In a PILDAT Consultative Session on Devolution of Labour Ministry post 18th Constitutional Amendment: Impact and Challenges, experts believed that federal oversight is necessary in labour affairs and therefore should be maintained after devolution.


Labour experts, researchers, officials of Provincial and Federal Governments and representatives of trade unions participated in the session. Participants appreciated PILDAT for arranging consultative session on such an important issue. The questions put before the panel included: identification of areas of concern, international treaties, EOBI, WWF, Trade unions, uniformity of workers benefits in Multi-Provincial companies and uniform safety and social protection laws.


Mr. Javed Gill, Central Labour Advisor, Federal Ministry of Labour and Manpower, said that the Industrial Relation Authority (IRA) bill is finalized which will be presented in the Parliament. He said that it needs support of Parliamentarians. The representatives of Provincial Governments were of the opinion that they can handle the issues arising out of labour after devolution but will be in a position to do so after devolution process is complete.


Mr. Zafar Iqbal Gondal, Chairman, EOBI, was of the opinion that EOBI and Workers Welfare Fund should be merged whether it remains in federal level or devolved to the provinces. He believed that no province at the moment is capable of handling the EOBI or WWF.


In Worker Welfare Fund the federal income is almost Rs. 7 billion per month and their expenditure is just over Rs. 500 Million. After devolution KPK and Balochistan would not even be able to meet salaries of their employees in Worker Welfare Funds. The EOBI funds will meet the same fate as KPK and Balochistan have less income and more liabilities.


Participants stressed on uniformity of laws among provinces. They believed that it is a window of opportunity for provinces as well to cut their administrative cost. Federal oversight is necessary in labour affairs. Social security organizations should be merged and there should be one universal card which should be applicable all over the country.


Earlier Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director, PILDAT, while highlighting the purpose of the session said that after 18th Constitutional Amendment concurrent list would be abolished by June 30, 2011 and the session has been organized so as to discuss what could be its impact and challenges relating to labour. He was of the view that the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms in its 9-month long deliberation did not consult with experts of different fields, although they sought and received recommendations before their deliberations. He said that the Implementation Commission has also been keeping its discussions secret so people can not reach them for suggestions. He stressed that the consultation process is not as it should be, and this type of consultation could help in getting suggestions and solutions to various issues.