President of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC) has said that the country's economic growth has not been adequately translated into new and decent jobs that could improve the living condition of the people.
Mohamed A.Deen noted that the vast majority of workers have not got the necessary skills and competencies to take advantage of the employment opportunities that have recently arisen in the country's economy, thus urging the government to strengthen the capacity of the informal sector.
The SLLC bosswas speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day national consultative conference on informal sector workers organized by his organisation in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other partners at the British Council hall in Freetown.
Deen said social security the world over mainly focuses on the formal economy and many of those working in the informal sector have been left out of social protection arrangements on the grounds that the informal sector cannot provide a decent working environment as it is not secured, protected or recognized by the government and cannot attract funding from the national budgets.
"It is unfortunate that theinformal workers are not covered by employment policies and therefore unprotected by labour laws and other international legislations guiding labour force," said the Labour Congress prexy. "Without any gainsaying, this trend constitutes a serious problem given that these groups are often low income earners, vulnerable to economic volatility. This situation is characterized by lack of health insurance, pension scheme, accident benefits for them and their survivors in case of death."
The development of technical and entrepreneurial skills, Deen noted, is a key instrument to increase both productivity and employment in the informal economy. New skills and the formal economy recognition of these skills, he added, can open doors to more meaningful and more economically and socially rewarding jobs.