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Workers Employers Bilateral Council Of Pakistan Meeting With
Chief Executive of Pakistan At Islamabad on 30th April, 2001
A delegation of Workers Employers Bilateral Council Of Pakistan (WEBCOP) comprising Mr. Ahsan Ullah Khan, Convenor, Mrs. Kaneez Fatima, Co-Convenor, Professor Shafi Malik, Secretary, and Mr. U.R. Usmani, Joint Secretary, cal led upon the Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharaf. Accompanying the delegation from the Ministry of Labour Mr. Omar Asghar Khan, Federal Minister for Labour Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis and Mr. Farhat Hussain, Secretary Labour Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis participated in the deliberations on 30th April, 2001 at Islamabad’s Chief Executive House.
The Federal Minister introduced the WEBCOP delegation and also gave a brief Report on formation, aims and objectives of WEBCOP. Thereafter, the Convenor submitted the reasons and factors which created a necessity of a Bilateral Forum which could create a sense of partnership to achieve Peace, Productivity, Prosperity between the Bilateral Partners in the best interest of economic revival of our country and to meet the challenge of Globalization. The Convenor informed the Chief Executive that in the best interest of the country the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan and Workers Federation of Pakistan shall forget the bitter past and work collectively to face the opponents of the ideology of Pakistan and Islam and help the Nation in the industrial economic growth, so vital for the future.
The Chief Executive appreciated the efforts and thereafter various matters came up for discussion and resulted as follows:
To boost knowledge, skill and professionalism the Chief Executive agreed to be the Patron of Training in Pakistan (National Training Bureau, Ministry of Labour Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis) and boost the working standards of training in accordance with the Employment Market.
On the proposal of holding yearly National Skill Competitions with handsome cash rewards to the successful persons of knowledge and skill in their individual fields and to create self employment opportunities for such persons the Chief Executive was very kind enough to double the amount of reward by equally contributing to the reward to be offered to the winners of Skill Competitions by National Training Bureau and Skill Development Council and assured of his personal presence in awarding ceremonies.
The Chief Executive assured Government support to all efforts of WEBCOP and Skill Development Council in pre and post education training to ensure competitiveness increasingly being based not on low wages or natural resources but on knowledge, innovation, skill and productivity and to develop ability to organize information, money people and other resources across national boundaries.
The Chief Executive was very appreciative of the proposal by WEBCOP on effective bilateral participation in all tripartite forums involving the employers, workers and the Government, with special emphasis on tripartite welfare authorities.
The Chief Executive agreed that the National Training Ordinance 1980 awaiting his sanction would be immediately promulgated within this month and secretary Labour, Mr. Farhat Hussain assured compliance
The Chief Executive was very appreciative of a large public private partnership programme of the Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis and the Skill Development Council and recommended its recognition as the most successful experience initiated in Pakistan.
Child Labour Training Programme initiated by the Ministry of Labour Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis with Skill Development Council for 4 year training and certification was very much appreciated.
Nomination of employers workers representatives in all tripartite bodies with full transparency and responsibility of accountability by WEBCOP was very much appreciated.
WEBCOP’s assistance in Labour Reform Laws and confidence building, minimum wage and social welfare measures were assured by the delegation. The Chief Executive was appreciative of the idea of Private Public Partnership to ensure good governance.
WEBCOP delegation informed the Chief Executive of the problem of four Ministries the Labour, Education, Industry and Science and Technology working parallel without coordination. The Chief Executive was also informed of an International Conference by UNESCO in Korea recommending all member countries to maintain a liaison between the Ministries and Ministry of Labour was recommended as the coordinating Ministry. The Chief Executive discussed at length this requirement and Minister Labour Omar Asghar Khan assured to open a dialogue with other Ministries to meet the requirement.
It was recommended by the WEBCOP delegation to develop and adopt measures to encourage formal and informal sectors growth and to introduce collective cooperation in corporate projects to assist employment, self employment in the industrialization and specifically in agriculture sector.
It was proposed by WEBCOP to encourage zero duty raw materials for the industry and to maintain a 20% differential between Custom Duties on industrial raw material and finished products. Similar import incentives on machinery, tools, spare parts and low income tax rates on salaries was also requested. Documentation of the economy and revenue generation through value added taxes and not import duty was recommended. The Chief Executive was appreciative of the recommendations.
WEBCOP representatives Prof. Shafi Malik and Mrs. Kaneez Fatima discussing other matters requested the Chief Executive for consideration of reinstatement of 128 Junior Officers of the Pakistan Steel Mills who recently were reinstated by the Federal Public Service Tribunal but are still out of their jobs due to Chairman Pakistan Steel Mills decision. The Chief Executive assured the delegation that he will speak to the Pakistan Steel Chairman and try for the reinstatement. The Chief Executive informed the delegation that he wants every worker of the country on job and would like the benefits of progress to be passed on to the workers but he said it was very painful to him to witness a similar Steel Mill in Egypt running with half the human strength of Pakistan Steel but producing double production. The delegation assured the Chief Executive of similar commitments to activities in Pakistan and assured him that by reinstating the 128 persons Pakistan Steel Mills would be benefiting of skill experience of these persons and create a good will for the Government. The Chief Executive was very kind enough to listen to some problems of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and promised to speak to Brig. Haq and try to sort out all possible problems.
The Chief Executive’s attention was drawn to the problems of unemployment and smuggling and was requested for employment oriented policies, by WEBCOP’s Mr. U.R. Usmani. The Chief Executive briefly reviewed the over-employment condition in public sector giving examples of PIA, Railways, WAPDA and KESC and the menace of smuggling which is destroying the economy of Pakistan. He asked for solutions which indeed admittedly are difficult.
The WEBCOP delegation was very much appreciative of the performance of the Ministry of Labour Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis with Mr. Omar Asghar Khan as the Minister, Mr. Farhat Hussain as Secretary. Such rare combinations and performances are not available normally and WEBCOP told the Chief Executive of humbleness of the Minister and the Secretary of maintaining low profile inspite of very good performance.
Later in the afternoon at the Workers Conference held at National Library the Chief Executive was very kind to have mentioned WEBCOP and its performance several times to the house and also gave the responsibility to WEBCOP of working out minimum wage recommendations assuring that the WEBCOP’s recommendations would be implemented. He declared that this is the first task which the Chief Executive wants to be executed by WEBCOP in compliance of the recommendation resulting from the Workers Conference Seminar. WEBCOP has accepted the challenge and would do its best to deliver.
May ALLAH give us the strength to be of service to Pakistan.