LAHORE: The Pakistan Ready-Made Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) said the garment industry faces problems due to the shortage of trained and skilled industrial workers, calling on the government to revise the age limit for workers. In this way, young people would have the opportunity to work in a pleasant atmosphere of an export industry, in addition to limiting the threat of bonded labor in the country.
PRGMEA North Zone President Sheikh Luqman Amin said about 11 million children in Pakistan perform domestic chores and work in the agricultural sector. Other children work alongside their families as bonded laborers in the brick industry, hotels and garages in very pitiful and deplorable conditions.
The use of this type of threat can be reduced by providing jobs for young workers in the export industry if the provincial government changes labor laws and revises the age limit of workers for the industrial sector.
He said the country still experiences the worst form of child labor, which includes hazardous work that can harm the health and development of children, putting their lives at risk.
They cannot be prevented from earning their bread and butter, however, they can benefit from a healthy, clean and honorable atmosphere where they could earn and improve their skills for further development and progress.
Sheikh Luqman mentioned that the sustainability of economic and social growth is linked to employment opportunities. He linked job opportunities to skills upgrading, which can only be achieved in industry. The more people are technically trained in the industry, the more likely they are to be recruited into reputable organizations, he said.
“Our value-added textile sector faces a shortage of skilled labor and changing labor laws in this regard will help address this by providing a trained skilled workforce. This will prove to be a big step for the government, which will not only strengthen the industry, but also help increase the progress of the country’s economy, he added.
The regional president of PRGMEA said the Pakistani garment industry has not fully benefited from access to the EU market as the garment sector faces a 90 percent shortage of skilled labor. The government should work with industry to identify areas where a trained and skilled workforce is needed to increase Pakistan’s share of the global garment export market.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021