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Daily Times

Published Date: Dec 7, 2018

60% of labour force does not even receive a minimum wage

Former finance minister stresses the need to give more rights to the country’s labour and says that they are totally a deprived strata and vulnerable class of the society
Former finance minister Dr Hafiz Pasha said on Thursday that 60 percent of the labour force in Pakistan does not receive even minimum wages and there are no laws against gender discrimination in workforce.
He was speaking at a session titled Economy of Tomorrow – Future Drivers of Economic Growth & Job Creation, organised on the occasion of 21st Sustainable Development Conference continuing on the third day under the auspices of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
Stressing the need to give more rights to the country’s labour, he said they are totally a deprived strata and vulnerable class of the society.
Speaking on the occasion, Sartaj Aziz, the former finance minister, said agriculture remains an important source of growth in Pakistan and there is no alternative to this. Emphasising as to how growth should be sustainable, he said growth in economy may no longer mean creation of jobs, while growth and policies should come in a certain time-frame, as demands change.
Sri Lankan Economist Subhashini Abeysinghe informed the audience as to how technology will be providing opportunities as well as challenges in the future.
Speaking at a session titled The Climate Risk Food Security Analysis, Climate Change, Food Security & Planning Commission Department member Dr Azeem Khan said we must strengthen the social structure of rural communities to help them diversify their agricultural products with improved economic incentives, improved value addition and better livelihoods.
He suggested coordinated researches between development and education sector for technical, financial, institutional support and outreach. He also suggested that joint researches on social, ecological and environmental issues in connection with food production should be launched in the country. He called for enhancing connectivity between rural and urban areas.
Cristiano Mandra from the World Food Programme said food availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability are the major issues that may result in drastic food insecurity in Pakistan. He proposed to initiate rural resilience initiative to ensure food and safety insurance for the farmers.
International Fund for Agriculture Development Country Programme Officer Qaim Shah said that food security is only associated with food production, rather it should be linked with development of rural areas. He suggested the formulation of institutional framework to regulate food security in Pakistan.
Professor Amitab Kundu from Research & Information System for Developing Countries, India proposed to introduce crop insurance and national rural household assurance for the vulnerable rural community to mitigate their losses.
Speaking at a session titled Harnessing the Potential of Agriculture Value Chains in South Asia, National Tariff Commission member Rubina Athar said that the investment policy should attract foreign direct investment and the tariff barriers should be reduced to develop value chain within the region.
World Bank Trade Economist Gonzalo Varela said that the agriculture sector is an important source of investment, innovation and productivity. He said the export promotion policies can play an important role in supporting farmers. Dr Usman Mustafa from Pakistan Institute of Development Economics highlighted the importance of regional connectivity between regions and some Sanitary & Phytosanitary standards. Political will is required to solve issues regarding trade, he said, adding that rural transformation can help achieve our growth rate.
South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation Chambers of Commerce Executive Committee member Zubair Malik said the lack of regional integration is the major cause of limiting potential investment in this sector.
South Asia Watch on Trade Economics & Environment Chairman Dr Posh Raj Pandey said that tax system, tariff and non-tariff barriers are one of the biggest obstacles in the way of farmers.
Bank of Punjab Board of Directors Chairman Dr Parvez Tahir said that taxation has created hindrance in the development of farmers.
United States Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Agriculture & Food Security Chief Director Dr Iqrar Ahmed highlighted that political will is required to increase the regional productivity and export, especially with India.
Speaking at a session titled Asma Jahangir – A Voice of the Voiceless Women of Pakistan, journalist Munizae Jahangir, said the implementation failure of the free legal aid system has created financial hurdles in the provision of justice for women. Elaborating the role of women in the judicial workforce, she said transparent judicial appointment process can contribute to the improvement of women’s access to justice. Moreover, she said that the current government has taken the issue of women at the forefront and is hopeful for a positive future for women.
IA Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan highlighted the inequalities in the provision of justice.