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‘PM giving top priority to HRD’ Zulfiqar Bukhari

KARACHI: “Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Ministry to focus on development of human resource in the country as a priority,” stated Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister.

Bukhari, who is also Minister of State for Overseas Pakistan and Human Resource Development, was Chief Guest at the Employers of the Year Award Ceremony organized by Employers Federation of Pakistan here on Wednesday.

He said the government believed that leadership through people working in organizations and entrepreneurs managing the company were the real drivers of country’s economy and its development. “The government is genuinely interested in initiatives taken by organizations like Employers Federation of Pakistan in supporting enterprises in improving work environment, developing people and take relevant measures to improve their role in uplifting in accelerating industrial growth in the country.”

He added that through business-friendly laws and regulations, both employers and workers could participate in the socio-economic development of each province and create conducive scenario for attracting foreign and local investment for expansion and growth in industry resulting in creating more employment and ensuring more welfare for the workers in the province.

Earlier, Majyd Aziz, President of Employers Federation of Pakistan, said that EFP was also addressing economic issues through the recently formed EFP Economic Council, imparting skill development and vocational training through Skill Development Council, assisting members in legal matters through its EFP Legal Cell.

Majyd Aziz stressed that the federal government needed to look into harmonization of Labor Laws and Minimum Wage structure in all four provinces because anomalies arising after the 18th Amendment were causing hardships and barriers in smooth operation of their business enterprises.

He stated that legislation for welfare of workers was introduced in proportion to the development of industries or done with political motives disregarding the dynamics of industrial relations. However, employers are endeavoring to promote workers welfare to an even greater extent than is demanded by law under the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility.

He further added that Pakistan has been handicapped by rising cost of doing business as well as ease of doing business. Despite these negative factors, employers usually tend to continue with the privileges and facilities given to their employees. Even in non-unionized enterprises, workers are provided more than what the law stipulates for them, he said.

Majyd Aziz also proposed that export oriented enterprises must be given exemption from contributing to workers welfare levies but should be contributed by the government from the Export Development Fund. The Government of India has allocated INR 2.50 billion for subsidizing labor welfare contributions for export-oriented industries.

He added that if there is going to be a Naya Pakistan,  it should be understood by the PTI Government that until and unless fast track decisions on economy, industrialization, exports, and reduction and ease of doing business are not taken and implemented, it will be difficult and an arduous task to get Pakistan out of the economic and social quagmire.

Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director of ILO Islamabad, addressed via video conferencing while CEOs and senior representatives from the award winning 12 top companies also addressed the conference.

Later, Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP, announced the winners in four categories, that is, Multinational Companies, Large National Companies, Small and Medium Companies, and SME Chambers.

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