6 July 2012

South Sudan: Labour Under-Secretary Calls for Support for Vocational Training Centres

press release

Juba — The Under Secretary for Labour in the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Madam Hellen Achiro, has called for international support for the four Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) in South Sudan.

Madam Achiro said technical, material and financial assistance will make the VTCs fully operational in training young people for the job market. The VTCs are based in Aluak Luak (Lakes State), Wau (Western Bahr El Ghazal), Malakal (Upper Nile) and Juba (Central Equatoria).

Madam Achiro said that the VTCs would be able to provide short courses lasting between 3-6 months in various fields, adding that this would enable young South Sudanese to take up jobs which are currently held by non-nationals.

The Undersecretary particularly singled out the hospitality industry saying there was high demand in the country for training of school leavers.

"When you go to most of the hotels in this country, the situation does not reflect the real image of the country because most of the workers are non-nationals. These are jobs which should be held by locals. We need to get nationals who are interested in the hotel industry and give them training in this area," she said.

"We require facilitation in terms of training and expertise for the VTCs. You can't lay off non-nationals before you train locals," she added.

Madam Achiro made the remarks when she met two officials from the African Development Bank (AfDB) - Ms Faith Kamau and Ms Arek Dut Majok - who paid her a courtesy call at the Ministry offices in Juba. The AfDB officials are part of the bank's country strategy verification mission in South Sudan.

South Sudan which became independent on July 9 last year joined AfDB as the 79th shareholder at the bank's last annual meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania from May 31-June 1, 2012.

The Under Secretary disclosed that the Ministry had finalised the Labour Bill which had the negotiated in a tripartite manner with the government, trade unions, employers and civil society giving their input.

She said that once it is enacted into law the Labour Bill would require implementation through the formulation of regulations and by-laws, adding that the government would require technical assistance to make this possible.

"We will also need to make awareness about the bill by printing and disseminating information, education and communication materials. We will also need to engage the media in creating awareness about the bill and its provisions," she said.

Madam Achiro said the International Labour Organisation was working with the Ministry to establish a unit to tackle child labour which is a major challenge for South Sudan, adding the main strategy was to fight child through education.

On the handling of labour disputes, the Under Secretary said the country needs to establish labour courts by borrowing experiences and best practices from the region and beyond.

"We also need an Industrial Act that will operationalise the labour courts because the country lacks a legislative framework for such courts," she said.

Speaking during the occasion, Ms Faith Kamau, the AfDB Legal Affairs official, said the bank would mainly focus on capacity building and infrastructure.

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