KARACHI    -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the provincial government in collaboration with Unicef is conducting a survey to ascertain the number of children engaged in child labour so that they could be provided education and skilled trainings for their formal employment when they attain appropriate age.

This he said 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 Minister Labour Murtaza Baloch, Secretary Investment Ahsan mangi, Secretary Labour Rasheed Solangi and Commissioner SESSI Kashif Gulzar.

The chief minister said that Sindh Factories Act, 2015 prohibited working of 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 survey is completed the government would be able to provide technical education to the children so that they can seek employment in industrial sector,” he said.

Labour Secretary Rasheed Solangi assured the chief minister the survey would be completed by the end of December 2019.

He added that in order to implement Minimum Wage and eradicate child labour as Minister’s Task Force headed by Director Labour along with prominent labour leaders and representatives from Employers Federation of Pakistan and Chambers has been constituted a notified.

He 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 current financial year his government has fixed minimum wage at Rs17,500.

The chief minister urged the visiting AOTS Japanese delegation to start technical training/basic education for the children involved in child labour so that they could be made skilled workers. The AOTS delegation and EFP Chief Majeed Aziz assured the chief minister of designing job-oriented technical training courses for children and other youth so that they could be adjusted in the industries.

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 eradicate 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.

Secretary Investment 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.

Minister labour Murtaza Baloch also briefed the delegation about the measures taken by his department for welfare of the labourers. He told them about health facilities, schools and residential colonies established by the labour  department.

The delegation assured the chief minister that they would start working on training programme and bring investors to invest in Sindh.