KARACHI: “Employers should provide full coverage of social security benefits to their employees to reap the full fruit of improved enterprise productivity.” This was stated by Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP, while addressing Awareness Raising Meetings with Employers on Social Security Schemes in Sindh. These meetings were organized by EFP in collaboration with ILO at the SITE Association of Trade & Industry and the Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan.
Zaki Ahmed Khan pointed out that only 42% of the secured workers were covered under the social security scheme and it was the need of the hour that this coverage should be increased so that the scope of benefit provided to workers through employers’ contribution may be widened to the maximum number of eligible workers.
He also stressed upon the need for improvement of quality of SESSI services so that employers and workers are attracted towards the Social Security Institution for seeking Social protection which is the dire need of the hour in the pandemic scenario in particular.
Abdul Hadi, President SITE Association of Industry, in his opening remarks said that the employers are willing to provide social protection to their employees so that their enterprises get the benefits of committed performance from their satisfied workforce. He pointed at the difficulties being faced by the employers and employees in seeking benefits and services from SESSI which he deemed to be the major blockage in the way of massive employee coverage.
Riazuddin, SVP SITE Association, announced that a special help desk has already been established in the SITE Association office to provide assistance to its members in resolving on the spot solutions to their problems with SESSI.
Nazar Ali, Director EFP board, announced the constitution of 3-member committee who will meet Commissioner SESSI to resolve the legal issue relating to the SESSI’s demand to pay contribution at the rate of 6% of the upper wage limit of the minimum wage.
Feroze Alam Lari, President and Muzzammil Husain, Secretary General, Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan(TMA), called upon their member organizations to avail maximum advantage of Social Security benefit by getting maximum number of workers registered under Social Security Scheme. They announced the establishment of a Social Security and EOBI desk at the TMA Secretariat which will be able to facilitate the companies in amicably resolving their technical and procedural issues with the cooperation of SESSI and EOBI officials.
Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, ILO office Islamabad, welcomed the initiative taken by EFP for creating awareness among employers for wider compliance of the social security law which will result in more comprehensive dissemination of information about SESSI benefits and services to industrial workers. She called upon the stakeholders to jointly work for promotion & implementation of Social Security Scheme in the Province of Sindh.
Saad Gilani, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Country Office Islamabad made a presentation on “Expanding Social Protection Coverage in Pakistan” in which he highlighted global and national commitments on Social protection expenditure as a percentage of GDP. He also made a graphic presentation on the positive link between social protection expenditure and labour productivity and emphasized that Pakistan has all the potentials to derive positive benefits from the social security scheme by expanding its coverage in Pakistan.
The officials of SESSI) and EOBI, made extensive presentations in highlighting the services being provided to employers and benefits being provided to employees through their respective institutions.
Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Advisor EFP also made a presentation on “A Business case on social security -Compliance has returns: Testimonies by employers”. He discussed the findings of the feedback survey conducted by EFP on the impact of Social Security on organizations’ productivity and performance. The survey indicated that while some companies are of the opinion that social security has improved the brand image and workers’ satisfaction in their enterprises, large majority of the enterprises are of the view that SESSI must improve quality of their services, transparency of information and its governance structure to make itself attractive to employers and workers.
Asim Rasheed of MOPHRD, Ms. Tasneem of ILO, Aleem Muttaqi, DDG EOBI, Ms. Ambreen, Director SESSI, Anwer Shah, Deputy Director SESSI, Musharraf, Director SESSI and Majeed Sheikh, Deputy Director WWF also addressed the meetings and expressed the hope that the campaign to promote Social Protection Schemes in the Province of Sindh initiated by the EFP and ILO is expected to boost the employers and worker’s confidence in SESSI’s capacity to provide social protection to workers. They hoped that it would also help SESSI in identifying its shortcomings and bringing tangible improvement in its working and delivery of services in a more effective manner.
Nazar Ali, Director EFP Board moderated the entire program including the question / answer sessions during which the participants raised many relevant issues relating to operations of SESSI and EOBI which were adequately responded by the concerned officials to the satisfaction of the participants. He announced that similar awareness raising meetings are being arranged in other town associations of Karachi, Kotri & Sukkur.