National Employment Policy to Promote Decent Work

By Alimatu Jalloh

President Koroma launching the employment policy (State House Communication Unit)
President Ernest Bai Koroma, on Monday May 3, launched the National Employment Policy, Strategy and Implementation Plan for 2015-2018 at the Miatta Conference Hall, Brookfields in Freetown.
A national employment policy is a vision and a practical plan for achieving the country’s employment goals. The policy should promote decent work, in which international labour standards, social protection and workers’ fundamental rights go hand in hand with job creation.
A national employment policy is not just a job creation programme. It takes into account a whole range of social and economic issues. It affects many areas of government—not just the areas in charge of labour and employment—and every part of the economy. It brings together various measures, programmes and institutions that influence the demand and supply of labour and the functioning of labour markets.
During a grand ceremony to commemorate International Labour Day, the President Koroma said the launch of the new employment policy has clearly shown his government’s commitment and effectiveness in addressing labour issues in the country.
He stated that government is part of labour congress and that is why programmes and policies under his administration are always directed towards the protection of the ordinary man, adding that government has come reasonably far to formalizing the informal sector.
The president said, “APC has always been a party that cares for the ordinary man as we have inherited that legacy from our predecessor Dr Siaka P. Stevens.”
President Koroma urged all stakeholders to effectively collaborate to addressing labour issues, especially in the informal sector, noting that government has put in place policies and legislations to addressing labour issues; the Local Content Policy is one such policy. He promised to strengthen the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to implement labour laws and policies more effectively, emphasizing that Sierra Leone’s labour laws are in line with the International labour laws.
The president noted all concerns raised by the acting president of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, J.A.B. Wright, and congratulated all workers in the country, assuring them of government’s continued support to tackling the conditions of service of workers in the country.
The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr Mathew M. Teambo said the theme: “Ensuring Productive Work for all Workers in Sierra Leone” for this year’s commemoration was apt, and that the initiative of the new employment policy in 2010 was done through the collaboration of development partners. He recognized the efforts of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GiZ) for being very supportive of the new policy since its inception.
Dr Teambo thanked President Koroma on behalf of the Labour Congress and his ministry for being the first president to promulgate the National Labour Day known as May Day as public holiday in Sierra Leone. He also thanked the president for improving on conditions of service of workers by moving the National Minimum Wage from Le21,000 to Le500,000.
The occasion was climaxed with presentation of awards. Late President Siaka P. Stevens, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Kandeh Yilla, Joseph F. Kamara, Lawyer Jenkins Johnston emerged as recipients of the awards for their contributions in diverse ways to addressing labour issues in the country.

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