NA body for increasing manpower export to boost remittances

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Thursday underlined the need for devising a comprehensive strategy to boost manpower export for more foreign remittances.

“Enhancing the manpower export to other countries, especially the Middle East, is vital to attract more remittances that play a critical role in stabilizing the national economy and empowering the youth, ” Sheikh Fayyaz ud Din said while chairing the committee.

The committee meeting, held here to evaluate the performance of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and the Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC), was attended by members of the National Assembly Khial Zaman, Syed Javed Hussain, Noor ul Hassan Tanvir and Zahra Wadood Fatemi, and officials of the ministry and its attached departments.

OEC Managing Director Kashif Noor apprised the panel about the challenges faced by the corporation in promoting overseas employment and said skill mismatch was a main hurdle in sending Pakistani workers abroad.

He said most of the workers were going abroad in the construction trade while other sectors went unattended due to low level of skills being imparted in the skill development institutions.

However, he said, the OEC had set up a job portal to connect the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) and the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BEOE) where both the organizations shared and matched the data of trained job seekers and employment opportunities abroad, respectively.

“Let the bygone be bygone, ” Khial Zaman said while criticizing the past regimes for weak policies for the purpose. He urged the overseas ministry to chalk out a four-year plan for sending skilled and highly skilled workforce abroad in various sectors.

The committee chairman said the ministry should set targets in that regard and discuss the way forward for their achievement.

Khial Zaman said the overseas ministry should focus on the services sector as the construction sector in the Gulf states did not need labour anymore.

Skill centres at district and tehsil levels should also be set up to train the youth, he added.

Zahra Wadood said the government should approach the foreign countries for export of maids, who would help earn foreign exchange.

At present, Kashif said the NAVTTC, Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA), and others were responsible for human resource development as the subject had been devolved after the 18th Amendment.

Overseas Pakistanis Foundation Managing Director Dr Amir Sheikh said around 3, 500 departments were working under the NAVTTC that was only focusing on local job markets.

“Some 95 per cent of the youth are being trained at par with the standard of local job market, ” he claimed.

The OEC MD urged the committee to bring legislation over the issue that bound the NAVTCC to train 50 per cent of the youth for international job market.

Kashif said the OEC had formulated a plan for enhancing manpower export and identified the responsibilities of relevant departments in that regard.

The committee chairman asked the OEC MD to present the proposal before the committee in its next meeting.

Meanwhile, the OEC officials informed the body about the initiatives taken by the department.

The OEC had sent more than 142, 629 workers abroad for overseas employment, besides securing manpower export to South Korea and 15 other countries through Employment Permit System (EPS).

To a query, the officials said around 8, 588 workers had gone to South Korea under the EPS. The department had also imparted Korean language training to over 2, 300 job seekers, they added.