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Relief during lockdown Govt, NGOs lack complete data on formal, informal workers

ByOur Staff Reporter 2020-03-31
LAHORE: The government as well as non-government organisations lack complete data about formal and informal sector workers, revealed during the exercises being conducted to ascertain the number of affectees by the ongoing lockdown.

An official privy to the situation says the relevant departments expressed their inability to produce authentic data on regular worl(ers in the formal sector and how many of them are daily wagers.

The authorities, he says, were also unaware about the number of workers in the informal sector.

The issue is a hurdle in identifying those being hardly hit by ongoing lockdown and deciding a mech-anism for delivery of relief goods and financial assistance to them, he added.

The official said the Social Security Department and Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) have but only partial data of the workers because more than 50 per cent of the workforce in the private sector is not registered with these institutions.

Khalid Malik, director of Labour Education Foundation, an NGO working for labour rights, says the only way to get the reliable data is to use the statistics collected and compiled by the census authorities.

This may be a time-consuming exercise but will give the most accurate and reliable details of the workers both in formal and informal sectors, he emphasises.The formation of any new force (like Tiger Force) will not only politicise the issue but also overshadow transparency in the relief activities.

He urges the government to also mobilise its labour department for persuading the industrialists to give statistics about the workers they have not got registered with the social security or other relevant departments.

Labour leaders have, meanwhile, expressed their concerns at the poor data compiling arrangements of the government fearing it will multiply problems of the working class, particularly those rendered jobless because of the coronavirus crisis.

Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz and Muttahida Labour Federation office-bearers, including ShaukatChaudhry, Muhammad Yaqoob, Hanif Ramay, Altaf Baloch, Fazle Wahid and others regretted in a statement that public and private sectorsbothlackproperdataabout the workers.

None knows how many labourers are there employed as daily wagers and how many are working under the contract system.

They questioned how the government would ensure to extend its financial aid to those rendered jobless by the Covid-19 in the absence ofreliable data.

They have demanded that the government institute monitoring committees at union council level with representation of registered labour federations in the bodies so that transparency may be ensured in the distribution of financial assistance.