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Economically weak Pakistan can’t have an independent foreign policy: Foreign Minister




ISLAMABAD: While speaking at a seminar hosted here today by SDPI, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that economically weak Pakistan could not have an independent foreign policy.

He held that the time had come to review the US-centric policy of Pakistan: “China lives next to us and we have a common wall. Russia can also be our good friend”.

Harboring on the subject of trade with US, he said that Pakistan had to convert its diplomatic outpost to trade outpost.

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Baldia factory fire victims’ heirs to get monthly pension!




KARACHI: Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (SESSI), working under Labor Department of Sindh government today initiated the process of disbursement of the pension to the legal heirs of victims of Baldia factory fire incident after signing a MoU with ILO yesterday (Wednesday 21st of March). 

The MoU was signed by Abdul Rasheed Solangi, Secretary Labor and HR Department, Government of Sindh and Vic Van Vuuren, Director Enterprise Department of ILO, where as the representatives of labor organizations, ILO and Sindh government were also present at the signing ceremony, held in Karachi.

ILO Country Director Ms. Ingrid Christensen; Mukhtar Ahmed, Deputy Secretary (Labor) Government of Sindh; Nasir Mansoor, Deputy General Secretary of NTUC and Karamat Ali, Executive Director of PILER were also present and signed on the MoU as witnesses.  

The funds  US $ 5.15 million  including a margin of 0.25 million USD has been provided by German company KiK Textilien after the agreement with Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER) in 2012 under which the KIK had initially paid US $ 1 million for emergency relief during the same year. The incident happened on 11th September 2012. 

The ILO, under the Convention 121 – Employment Injury Benefits Convention, has played an important role in finalization of long term compensation, which is now being distributed in the form of pension.  

The German company transferred the amount for long term compensation to the ILO and that fund still lies with the ILO, which would provide the part of it to the SESSI for disbursement. During the initial period of implementation of the Baldia Arrangement, whose duration will be determined by the ILO in consultation with the other Parties during Provisional Period, the Fund will provisionally be held and administered by the ILO, in accordance with the ILO’s applicable rules, regulations and procedures and actuarial practice.

During the Provisional Period, the ILO will transfer the required monies from the Fund as authorized and requested by the Oversight Committee, provided the ILO is satisfied that the funds are used in accordance with the Baldia Arrangement and this MOU.

At the end of the Provisional Period, the ILO will transfer the full remaining principal of the Fund to the authorities appointed to be in charge, under the responsibility of the Sindh Government, of the financial management and reporting of the Fund as acceptable to the OC and the Parties to this MOU with due account of the need for financial efficiency, for the exclusive purposes and uses to which the Fund is intended and subject to certification by the ILO of: satisfactory calculation and disbursement of periodic payments, health and allied care and rehabilitation services; delivery of financial advice and actuarial planning services; and all appeals on entitlements resolved and/or time-barred.

Under the MoU the SESSI can invest the funds in secured investments expected to be capable of a foreseeable annual real rate of investment return expected of at least 2 percent and, taking account of the market conditions; without assuming any further financial liability towards the Baldia victims than that provided under this MoU.

An Oversight Committee with tripartite mechanism has been established to look after the process of disbursement of the pensions. Members of the OC included from the government side, Sindh Government’s Labor and HR department and federal government’s Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource; employers’ organizations including Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and SITE Association of Industry, Karachi; Workers’ organizations including Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) and National Trade Union Federation (NTUF); Non-governmental organizations including Pakistan Institute of Labor Education & Research (PILER) and All Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association (AEFA). There are Non-member participants and advisers of the OC, which included Technical advisers International Labor Organization (ILO), Finance Department, Sindh Province (Investments). The executing agency will be Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution (SESSI), where as funding agency is German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in a capacity as financial donor to support administrative costs of implementation of the Baldia Arrangement.

Sindh government will report to the Oversight Committee on the status of the account of the Fund, namely its certified annual income and expenditure statements, including its investment performance and its demographic development, on the basis if initial actuarial projections used for the ILO Technical Report 2016, and its effect on the remaining balance of the Fund.

The MoU entrusts the SIndh Govt.  to ensure that the disbursement of the funds is made exclusively for the purpose of funding under the gap benefit payments for loss of earnings and medical and allied care and rehabilitation services of the disabled victims.

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Franco-Pak cooperation in water sector: Special Report on World Water Day



ISLAMABAD: Initiated in 1993 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the World Water Day is celebrated every year on 22nd March. The objective of this event is to raise public awareness on water issues and to draw attention of governments and private sector on the importance of water.

In front of climate change threats, particularly on water resources, global initiatives on water and climate, such as the Paris Pact for Water and Climate, the Megacity Alliance for Water and the climate, the incubator platform “100 projects for water and climate in Africa”, are generating a strong mobilization.

This platform, created during COP22 to consolidate projects and facilitate financing, has been highlighted by France’s One Planet Summit last December 12th and is part of the 12 commitments made on this occasion (“Protecting land and water resources against the effects of climate change”).

France has put water access issues at the heart of its development aid activities, most often in consultation with the best-performing French companies in this area of water supply and sanitation.

Franco-Pakistani cooperation in water sector in Faisalabad has been running successfully for six years, meeting thus the priorities of the federal government and the province of Punjab.

More than 30 million Euros were spent, as part of an intergovernmental financial protocol signed at the end of 2010, at phase-1 of a project of extension of water resources in Faisalabad.

This contract, which has been implemented by French companies Artélia and Vinci Grands Projets, is currently being finalized. The continuation of this project is under study.

A French funding, approved in 2017, of almost one million Euros will furthermore aim to set up a training program for the staff of the public agencies of water sector for the purpose of capacity building.

Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change, particularly desertification and depletion of water resources, in the context of population growth and accelerated urbanization, constitutes a major challenge.

France intends to continue and deepen its cooperation with Pakistan to provide its expertise and know-how for a better water management in the interest of an increasing number of citizens.

Jaggran Hydro-Power Project

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PSX: Rupee’s depreciation lets bulls stay in the bourse on week’s 3rd trading day!



KARACHI: Specter of rising dollar helped KSE-100 Index close in the green (44,646 points) on the week’s third trading day with an augmentation of 0.76%.

Rs.9.11 billion worth of 207.1m shares were traded. Today’s top five traders of shares were Lotte Chemical, 16.49m shares (+2.78pc); TRG Pak,14.84m shares (+4.10pc); Sui Southern  Gas, 13.4m shares (+3.64pc); Unity Foods, 9.54m shares (+0.85pc); Nimir Resins: 9.48m shares (+2.31pc).

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