Sindh government, UNICEF conduct census of child labourers

Children would be given education, technical training for formal employment in industrial sector


Our Correspondent July 16, 2019
According to the labour department officials at the meeting, the survey would be completed by the end of December 2019. PHOTO: FILE/REUTERS

KARACHI: The Sindh government, in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is conducting a survey to ascertain the number of children engaged in child labour so that they can be provided with education and skills training to prepare them for formal employment when they reach the appropriate age.

This was decided in a meeting on Monday between officials of the provincial government and a four-member delegation from Japan led by Association of Overseas Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Partnerships (AOTS) Managing Director Joti Tateishi.  A delegation of the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) also attended the meeting which was headed by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

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According to the CM, the Sindh Factories Act 2015 prohibits the employment of a child below the age of 14 years. He said that the Sindh Child Labour Survey, in collaboration with UNICEF, was being conducted throughout the province. Sindh government has allocated Rs96 million for the survey, said the CM. "Once the survey is completed, the government will be able to provide technical education to children so that they can seek employment in the industrial sector," he added.

According to the labour department officials at the meeting, the survey would be completed by the end of December 2019. They said that to implement a minimum wage and eradicate child labour, a task force has been established which includes prominent labour leaders and representatives of the Employers Federation of Pakistan, among others.

The CM informed the Japanese delegation that Jamshoro district has been declared a 'Child Labour Free' district and the Sindh government is working to make other districts free from this menace.

He urged the Japanese delegation to begin providing technical training and basic education for children involved in child labour so that they could be made skilled workers.

The AOTS representatives and EFP Chief Majeed Aziz assured the CM of designing job-oriented technical training courses for children so they could be accommodated in industries.

"We are committed to eradicating child labour and would offer them [children] some stipend during their education and training to encourage them and then utilise their services in the industrial sector," said the CM, while expressing that the children must be given basic education along with technical skills before they are inducted in the workforce.

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The CM offered investment opportunities to the visiting delegation. He said that the Dhabeji Special Economic Zone, which is being developed by the Sindh government, had immense potential for investors.

Investment Secretary Ahsan Mangi briefed the delegation about the Dhabeji Special Economic Zone and invited them to visit the area and support the development project.

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

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2019.

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