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June 13, 2016

EOBI pensioners left high and dry


June 13, 2016

ISLAMABAD: As a result of federal government’s failure to amend the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution Act 1974 following the passage of 18th Amendment in 2010, future of around 0.5 million retired private organisations’ pensioners including, widows and invalid persons is hanging in balance.

A highly informed official of EOBI requesting anonymity told the News that at present the per head contribution of workers was being charged at 2008 rate when minimum wage was Rs8,000 a month and if the EOBI act amended, the total annual contribution which stands at Rs14 to 15 billion would touch Rs25 billion per annum to enable the institute raise per head pension to around Rs10, 000 a month against Rs5,250 a month.

He said while the contribution rate for three provinces had been revised, the same was still being deducted at the old rate in the Punjab as Lahore High Court had given stay against the upward revision.

The situation is so grim that the EOBI which has already been robbed of around Rs40 billion by the former management and the misappropriation and corruption cases are pending in the Supreme Court, the decision as to whether the institute will be run by the federal government or transferred to the provinces under the 18th Amendment has not been taken. Out of four, two provinces, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through resolutions have already askedthe government to take over the institute wholly as it was not possible for them to run it.

While the federal government and provincial governments’ employees will be getting 10 percent raise in their pensions during the upcoming year 2016-17 the 0.5 million pensioners of the EOBI will remain at their old flat rate of Rs5,250 a month. The federal government which under the EOBI act was supposed to pay Rs6 billion to the institute to meet the extra expenses incurred on raise in workers’ pension in April last year has not paid so far.

The present rate of EOBI pension, it may be recalled, was raised from Rs3,600 to present Rs5,250 on the orders of apex court last year with the direction to amending the said act in order to increase the monthly contributions of some 5 million workers across the country. However the HRD neither has fulfilled the promise of reimbursing the money that incurred on the pension raise nor initiated for legislation to enhance the per head contribution to raise overall income of the institute to enable it make a hefty raise for the hapless private sector workers in all the four provinces.



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