Employers call for effective governance of social security schemes through social dialogue

Employers and social security agencies continue to discuss issues of governance, data transparency and data sharing, expanding coverage, simplification of registration and contribution as part of the series of awareness raising sessions in Sindh

Press release | Sindh, Pakistan | 31 March 2021
KARACHI (ILO News): In the first quarter of 2021, a series of awareness-raising sessions on social security were organized jointly by the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and the ILO. These sessions were part of the more extensive coverage campaign designed to increase the registration of enterprises with Social Security agencies so that more workers can be brought into the ambit of their coverage. The coverage campaign features promotional material, including videos, posters, and awareness-raising sessions aiming to bridge social security organizations and employers.

Seven awareness-raising sessions were held between January – February 2021, engaging more than 200 employers and their representatives. Participating employers called for improved and participatory governance of social security schemes.

Office bearers from leading industry associations, including; Abdul Hadi, President, Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) Association; Syed Raza Hussain, Sr. Vice President and Mr Irfan, Chairman Committee (labour issues), F.B. Area; Feroz Lari, Chairman, Textiles Manufacturing Association (TMA); Khalil Baloch, Chairman (labour sub-committee, Kotri Association); Zia Ur Rehman, President Nooriabad Association; Fahim Noor, Chairman Hyderabad Chambers; Deen Muhammad, President Sukkur Chambers; Mr Faisal Moiz Khan, President North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry (NKATI) and Mr Rashid, Former President NKATI, welcomed these dialogues and acknowledged these as first of their kind engagements where employers and social security agencies sat together to discuss operational level issues and reach joint solutions in addressing them.

As a result of these sessions, the employers’ organizations agreed to:
  • advocate and encourage their members to ensure 100% registration of workers within their supply chains;
  • convene periodic meetings to discuss operational level issues within employer circles to identify, document, show case and discuss good examples of compliance; and
  • liaise with Social Security agencies (Employees Social Security Institution, Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, and Workers Welfare Fund) to set up registration/information desks to facilitate employers who need assistance in assessing their liabilities, preparing declarations, registering their workers, and understanding the legal requirements.

Mr Zaki Khan, Vice President EFP, and his team comprising Mr Fasih Karim Siddiqui, Advisor, and Mr Syed Nazar, General Secretary, reiterated the need for a collective voice on matters concerning social security. EFP demanded that such meetings be held periodically in employers circles so that employers can play a proactive part in reforming the operational side of social security coverage. Noting that the private sector and the business community have an essential role in planning in the universalization of social protection, EFP urged that employers play their part through responsible procurement practices ensuring their supply chain is also compliant with national laws.

The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development led by Ms Alia Shahid, Joint Secretary (HRD), and Mr Asim Rasheed, Section Officer, lauded the efforts of the EFP in convening the awareness sessions with the support of the ILO and emphasized the need for such events to be held regularly. In this regard, the Ministry also informed participants about a Social Security Coordination Forum, a notified tripartite body, and the right platform to take up recommendations for further discourse and action.

The ILO Country Office team shared global statistics on the coverage of social security and highlighted that Pakistan stands at a very low of under 1% coverage of a single benefit of Social Protection as per the ILO World Social Protection Report 2017-19. One of the reasons for low coverage highlighted by the ILO included low investment in social protection.

The meetings featured videos on the social security registration process and legal obligations designed as part of the coverage campaign for social security. Participants discussed the need for decentralization, improving the quality of health services, topping up health benefits, and improving registration and contribution systems.

The concluding event at FPCCI was attended by Mr Abdul Rasheed Solangi, Secretary, Department of Labour and Human Resources, Sindh; Mr Ismail Suttar, President, EFP; Mr Majyd Aziz, Former President, EFP; Mr Junaid Makda, Chairman (labour sub-committee); Ms Alia Shahid, Joint Secretary, Ministry of OPHRD and Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, ILO.

These events were supported from the project ‘Achieving SDGs and Ending Poverty through Universal Social Protection', a joint initiative of the ILO and UNDESA financed by the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund (supported by the Government of China) and Baldia Project (funded by GIZ).

Similar awareness-raising events are planned in other provinces through Employers and Workers Organisations.