KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the provincial government in collaboration with UNICEF was conducting a survey to ascertain the number of children engaged in [child] labour so that they could be provided education and skills training for their formal employment.
He said this while talking to a four-member Japanese delegation led by MD Association for Overseas Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Partnerships (AOTS) Joji Tateishi.
The other members of the delegation include Prof Dr Hiroyuki Fujimura of Hosei University Tokyo and Eiji Teshima, Mahito Yoshimura.
The meeting was also attended by a delegation of Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) presidents Majeed Aziz, Zaki Khan, Feroze Alam, Ismail Sattar, Syed Nazar Ali, Fasihul Karim, Rabiya Anwar and Shumail Rizvi.
The chief minister was assisted by Labour Minister Murtaza Baloch, Investment Secretary Ahsan Mangi, Labour Secretary Rasheed Solangi and SESSI Commissioner Kashif Gulzar.
The chief minister said that Sindh Factories Act 2015 prohibited working of a child below the age of 14 years to work in a factory.
He added that Sindh Child Labour Survey in collaboration with UNICEF was being conducted throughout Sindh for which his government allocated Rs96 million.
“Once the survey is completed the government would be able to provide technical education to the children so that they can seek employment in the industrial sector,” he said.
Labour Secretary Solangi assured the chief minister the survey would be completed by the end of December 2019. He added that in order to implement the minimum wage and eradicate child labour as Minister’s Task Force headed by the labour director.
The chief minister said that District Jamshoro has been declared as `Child Labour Free’ district and his government was working to make others district free from the menace in phases.
He added that minimum wage has been fixed at Rs16,200 for unskilled workers and during the current financial year his government fixed the minimum wage at Rs17,500.
The chief minister urged the visiting the Japanese delegation to start technical training/basic education for the children involved in child labour so that they could be made skilled workers.
Shah said that the children engaged in labour must be given basic education along with technical education before their induction in the workforce.
“We are committed to eradicating child labour and would offer them [children] some stipend during their education and technical programmes just to encourage them and then utilise their services in the industrial sector,” he said.
The chief minister also offered investment opportunities to the visiting delegation.
He said that Dhabeji Special Economic Zone being developed by the provincial government has a great potential for investors, he invited the delegation to invest there.
Investment Secretary Ahsan Mangi briefed the delegation about the Dhabeji Special Economic Zone and invited them to visit the area and support the development of the zone.