Senator Shamim chairs Senate Standing Committee Meeting on Privatization

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SENATOR SHAMIM AFRIDI , CHAIRMAN SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION PRESIDING OVER A MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE, ISLAMABAD ON SEPTEMBER 03, 2021.

 

Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : A Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Privatization was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Shamim Afridi here at the Parliament House on Friday.

The Committee expressed deep sorrow and grief over the sad demise of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and offered fateha for elevation of ranks for the departed soul

Reconsideration of the Bill Titled “the Privatization Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021” moved by the Minister for Privatization in the Senate sitting held on 23rd June 2021 was deferred.

Detailed briefing by the State Life Insurance, regarding its Privatization Process, over-staffing and other issues were considered.

The Chairman State life Insurance apprised the committee that the Life Insurance Business in Pakistan was nationalized in 1972.

The Chairman (SLI) highlighted that the 97.5 % surplus utilization of the LINO is allocated for policyholders and 2.5 % is allocated for Federal Government and provides an undertaking by the Central Government with regards to Policyholders. While briefing the committee on the Structural overview of the State Life Insurance Cooperation the Chairman SLI informed the committee that there are 7 Regional offices, 33 Zone offices, 166 sector offices and 1, 242 area offices. It was also informed that the life, group and health business lines, have 2, 352 officers, 2, 284 staff 1, 243 area managers and 134, 205 field forces.

The Chairman Committee sought a report on the number of retired employees and pensioners of the SLI and those working on extension. The Chairman committee further proposed that instead of reducing the number of regular employees, retired officers and officers re-inducted on extension should be removed. This will reduce the financial burden of the organization. The Chairman SLI informed that there are approximately 10-20 employees on extension; however he was not sure on the definite number and said that he will provide it in the next meeting.

Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar raised the question of salary or Staple for the Field Staff which he termed as the “driving force of the organization”. “It is unfortunate to know that the key workers contributing to the salaries of the departments are given no earnings at all”, Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar observed, “it is a corporal biased and an extremely screwed approach” he added. Field force belongs to the miserable and lower class of the society and there is no means of income for their survival.

The chairman SLI informed the committee that 80, 000 workers on the field are active workers and are being offered medical and group insurance. The chairman SLI also said that as per the regulations a permanent employee is deemed as a full employee of the organization, however, field force employees have no restrictions on part-time working. He added that the state life pays the highest commission, medical and group insurances.

While taking a briefing on the Privatization Process and Considerations, the Secretary Privatization informed the committee that the SLIC (Re-Organization and Conversion) Ordinance 2016, on April 06, 2016, for re-organization and conversion of SLIC (a statutory corporation) into a public limited company, i.e., State Life Insurance Company Limited. The Ordinance was presented in the Parliament as SLIC (Re-Organization and Conversion) Bill 2016 and was passed by the National Assembly on May 11, 2016. However, the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce proposed a few amendments to be incorporated in the Bill which could not be finalized. Presently, the proposed legislation relating to the corporatization of SLIC stands lapsed and the process has to be reinitiated by the Ministry of Commerce.

Secretary Privatization said that Privatization Commission approached the Ministry of Commerce multiple times to complete the pre-requisite actions regarding “Corporatization of SLIC” through the legislative process to enable PC to proceed further, however, despite repeated follow-ups, no progress has been achieved so far

The Secretary Ministry said that directions should be given for expediting the long-awaited corporatization process of SLIC.

The Chair with the consensus of the committee members sought a briefing from the Ministry of Commerce on the assumed blockades by the Ministry on the privatization process; the Chair also summoned the Ministry of Law and Justice to brief on the matter of legislation.

The meeting was attended by senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Senator Anwar Lal Dean. Chairman State Life Insurance, senior Officials from the Ministry of Privatization, and Law and Justice were also in attendance.