Punjab govt assures APTMA of resolving industry’s issues on priority

LAHORE:The Punjab government has assured All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) of resolving industry's issues on priority.

The assurance was extended by Nabeel Javed, Secretary Labour, Government of the Punjab, during a meeting with the APTMA delegation on Thursday. The APTMA delegation consisted of Chairman APTMA North Hamid Zaman, Senior Vice Chairman Kamran Arshad, Vice Chairman Asad Shafi, Executives SM Nabeel, Ali Arshad and Secretary General Raza Baqir. Senior Punjab government officers were also present.

Chairman Hamid Zaman highlighted the problems being faced by the member mills regarding penalty on the payment of Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI) arrears. He said that APTMA member mills were seeking a waiver of the penalty levied under Section 23 of the PESSI Ordinance to voluntary pay outstanding PESSI arrears in easy installments. The textile industry has already started voluntary payments of the principal amount as per mutually agreed schedule with the PESSI, he added.

According to Zaman, a waiver of the penalty on voluntary payment of PESSI arrears would encourage the rest of the industries to pay their dues immediately.

Senior Vice Chairman Kamran Arshad gave a detailed briefing on the background of the issue and promised that the whole amount of arrears would be recovered provided incentive of waiver of penalty was announced on voluntary payment of dues.

He also urged the secretary to include APTMA nominees to the PESSI and PWWF Boards besides sharing statistics on Labour Unions/CBAs as well as status of the implementation of labour related conventions required for GSP Plus status.

On the issue of retail timings to ensure balanced energy conservation, Vice Chairman Asad Shafi proposed that the Punjab government should reach out a mutually agreeable reduction in timing in consultation with retail sector and allow retail to remain operational until 10pm without any restrictions as retail sector was one of the largest job providers and paying taxes of hundreds of billions rupees to the exchequer.

The secretary labour asked director general to complete initial working on PESSI arrears and directed for holding another meeting during the next week to amicably resolve the issue.

He said the Punjab government was already attentive to all the industry issues keeping in view the fast-changing business environment the world over. He said necessary measures are being adopted to facilitate the industry on issues faced by them especially in view of the current economic melt down and global recession. Secretary added that the Punjab government would leave no stone unturned to provide a business friendly environment to facilitate to grow their businesses which ultimately conducive to growth and wealth creation in the province.