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City entrepreneurs reject draft labour policy.

Byline: Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

KARACHI -- Rejecting a proposed labour policy of the Sindh government, the city's business and industrial community said on Wednesday that the 'one-sided' document was prepared without taking all stakeholders on board.

Leaders of all major trade bodies and industrial estates unanimously rejected the recommendations of the first Sindh tripartite labour conference and the contents of the draft Sindh labour policy.

They said that since Karachi held 80 per cent share of Sindh's total industry and also generated around 90pc revenue for the province, it was imperative that the city's business community was taken on board in the consultative process of the labour policy.

These leaders belonging to a wide segment of trade and industry of the city rejected the idea of enhancing minimum wages up to Rs25,000 per month.

Industrial and trade bodies don't want minimum wages to be raised up to Rs25,000

They strongly felt that instead of increasing the wages the government should have formulated a strategy to control the prices of consumer goods.

They argued that wages in Pakistan were already high as compared to regional competing countries.

In 2014, the minimum wage for an unskilled worker was Rs11,000 per month, with exchange rate at Rs101 per dollar and consumer price index (CPI) inflation was 8.62pc. Thereafter, in 2014 to 2017 the dollar exchange rate increased by 9pc from Rs101 to Rs110.55, whereas annual percentage changes in CPI inflation showed a huge decline.

In 2016-17, the dollar exchange rate increased by 9pc and CPI is reduced to 4.16pc but the minimum wage was increased by 36pc from Rs11,000 to Rs15,000 per month.

Therefore, the industry and business leaders said if minimum rate of wages for unskilled workers would be increased by 9pc as per increased exchange rate of dollar from 2014-17 even then the current minimum wage should be Rs12,000 per month.

They added that current minimum wage per month in Bangladesh is $68, in India $115, while in Pakistan it is $135 per month. This meant the minimum wage in Pakistan was 98 per cent higher than Bangladesh and 17pc higher than India.

The leaders demanded that the first draft Sindh labour policy be finalised after holding broad-based consultations and discussions of industrial town associations and value-added export associations.

They also called upon the authorities to finalise the policy in the light of what the competing countries in the region had.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 8, 2018
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