28 February 2013

Liberia: Labour Minister Hails U.S. Gov't

Labour Minister Varbah K. Gayflor has commended the United States Government for committing itself to the fight against Child Labour in the rubber sector of Liberia.

Recently, the United States Department of Labour provided six million United States Dollars through WINROCK International, a Child Labour advocacy group for the fight in the elimination of child labour at rubber plantations and farms in the country.

A Labour Ministry release said, Minister Gayflor made the statement Tuesday, February 26, 2013 when the United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Madam Deborah Malac paid a courtesy call on her at the Ministry of Labour in Monrovia.

Minister Gayflor informed Amb. Malac, that the Ministry of Labour is doing everything to ensure that concessionaires and other employment institutions provide not only jobs, but decent jobs for Liberians in keeping with the Labour Law and its Practices of Liberia as well as International Conventions.

As a result, the Minister said her Ministry is currently spending more energy on service delivery activities.

She said the Ministry of Labour is also collaborating with the social partners employers' and workers' organizations to enhance harmonious relations between members of the council as means of promoting industrial peace and harmony; thereby, making the country attractive to investors.

Minister Gayflor further mentioned to the US Ambassador that as part of the Ministry's plan to strengthen the capacity of staff of the Ministry and the decentralization of its activities, her administration has put into place a framework to ensure that Labour Commissioners in the leeward counties are trained and their offices capacitated for proper delivery of labour services in the counties.

On the issue of adding value to the arbitration section of the Ministry of Labour, the Labour Minister said two graduates of the Law School have been employed to serve as Hearing Officers, while four lawyers were hired to serve as Labour Solicitors to provide legal representation for indigent workers at labour hearings.

The Liberian Labour Boss also informed the US Ambassador that the Ministry of Labour does not directly create jobs as it is perceived by many in the country, but is charge with the responsibility to monitor, create and regulate the environment for job creation and report statistics on jobs creation as provided by various institutions.

She added that though job creation remains a major challenge in Liberia, the environment is not yet ready to meet the jobs demand of the Liberia economy due to the lack of skills and employable career. She noted that the Ministry is working with partners to establish database software to identify and train Liberians in demand driven skills.

For her part, the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac stressed the need to revamp the educational system of the country by increasing training opportunities for students to acquire employable skills in order to meet the job demands of the country.

She also called on the Ministry of Labour to produce a job entry data; so as to educate young students on opportunity areas where jobs are currently available and to improve on the system of tracking employments in both the private and public sectors.

She said, she look forward to seeing more women taking advantage of employment opportunities in the country; particularly, in the agricultural sector to contribute to the development of the country and thereby reducing poverty in their communities, stating that women and girls empowerment and food security are major priorities .

"Women have done many good things without recognition therefore, taking advantage of economic opportunities will enable them strive for place in the future of the country" she added.

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