President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has launched the National Employment Policy and Strategy and Implementation Plan for 2015-2018 at the Miatta Conference Hall, Brookfields in Freetown. The National Employment Policy is a policy response towards addressing and improving labor relations and conditions of service of workers in Sierra Leone.
During a grand ceremony to commemorate International Labour Day, the president 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. “APC”, President Koroma said, “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, and noted that government has put in place policies and legislations to addressing labour issues; the Local Content Policy is one such policy. He therefore assured 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 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 Twenty-One Thousand Leones to Five Hundred Thousand Leones.
The occasion was climaxed with presentation of awards. Late President Dr Siaka P. Stevens, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Kandeh Yilla, Joseph F. Kamara, Lawyer Jenkins Johnston emerged as recipients for their contributions in diverse ways to addressing labour issues in the country.