Interim CM’s intervention: SRB recovers Rs6.9 bn of welfare funds

KARACHI:Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice Maqbool Baqar said on Thursday that the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) has recovered Rs6.9 billion from industrial entities in the head of Sindh Workers Welfare Fund (SWWF) and Sindh Workers Welfare Participation Fund (WWPF) stuck up long in unnecessary litigation.

The CM said that the amount was meant for the welfare of the workers but due to improper pursuance of the litigation, its recovery had halted. “I think it is a big achievement and big news for the workers,” he said.

It may be recalled that the caretaker CM had directed the SRB to issue notice to the litigants for recovery of the dues. He had said the court had not granted a stay in the case, therefore, recoveries must be made. The SRB issued notices, held meetings with the heads of industrial entities, and recovered the amount.

This was disclosed in a joint meeting of the Labour, SRB, Finance depts, and Workers Welfare Board held here under the chairmanship of caretaker Chief Minister Justice (rtd) Maqbool Baqar here at CM House on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam, Chairman P and D Shakeel Mangnejo, PSCM Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Finance Kazim Jatoi, Secretary Labour Shariq Ahmad, Chairman SRB Wasif Memon, and others.

Recovery of Rs22 bn from FBR: Chairman SRB Wasif Memon told the Chief Minister that an amount of Rs22 billions of SWWF and SWWPF was outstanding against FBR which was reluctant to transfer to Sindh

The CM was told that the FBR has not transferred Rs. 22 billion to the Sindh government on account of payments made by Sindh-based industrial undertakings to FBR under the head of WWF in the last three years. Similarly, OGDCL has paid an amount of Rs. 2 billion pertaining to the Province of Sindh to FBR in one particular year.

The CM said that he would write a letter to the caretaker Prime Minister with the request to direct the Ministry of Finance, (Fed govt) to transfer all SWWF and SWPPF contributions, including Rs. 22 billion paid by Sindh-based industrial establishments in FBR, as well as contributions relating to Province of Sindh made by trans-provincial establishments such as OGDCL, PSO, PPL, Engro Group, Fauji Group, Cement manufacturers etc. to the Province of Sindh.

Impasse on Cross-Input Tax Adjustment: The CM was told that the FBR was not releasing the net amount of Cross-Input Tax Adjustment (CITA) to the Sindh Revenue Board despite numerous meetings when the same amounts were regularly being released to Punjab Revenue Authority and KP Revenue Authority.

The Caretaker CM said that he would write a separate letter to the Prime Minister with the request to direct the Ministry of Finance to release CITA amounts to the Sindh government after due reconciliation from FBR under mutually agreed provisions of the MoU signed in March 2014.

Labour Colonies: The caretaker CM in his meeting with the labour dept on August 27 had expressed his concern that the labour flats, Near Gulshan-e-Maymar-Karachi ordered immediate 'repair and maintenance.

The CM had directed the Director of Engineering and Works WWF Muzaffar Shah to get them repaired within three weeks, but he failed to comply. The CM in his meeting with the department on Thursday placed the services of Mr Muzaffar Shah and ordered an inquiry against him.

The CM was told that the labour flats' electricity has been disconnected for non-payment of Rs120 million power bill. The CM called the CEO of KE Mr Moins Alvi and directed him to restore the electricity of the labour flats by tomorrow (Friday) and report to him. He also directed the Worker Welfare Board to resolve the electricity payment issue with KE.

Removal of illegal occupation: The CM directed the Commissioners of Hyderabad and Shaheed Benazirabad to remove illegal occupation of the labour flats/houses from the labour colony of both cities and report him.

The CM directed the Workers Welfare Board to allot all the new flats to the workers transparently and report him.

Meanwhile, the CM constituted a committee under the Secretary Finance to prepare a comprehensive report about the state of Labour colonies, allotments, and illegal occupations and submit the same with their recommendations.

Minimum Wage: The CM directed the Labour dept to implement Minimum Wage notification, regularize temporary workers working in industrial units, and bring an end to all forms of bonded labour. He directed the Labour Department to implement the minimum wage notification. He said that various media houses have not paid salaries to their workers for the last many months. Similarly, the CM said private schools have underpaid their lady teachers. He directed the Labour department to redress the grievances of the media workers and schoolteachers, particularly the female teachers.