28 June 2014

Tanzania: Labour Laws Translated Into Kiswahili

A USER friendly, version of the nation's labour laws for micro, small and medium enterprises has been launched.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday evening at the launch, the Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Gaudensia Kabaka said out of three million SMEs in the country, only 3.3 per cent are registered and formalised.

"Allow me at this juncture to thank the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for their assistance in launching this booklet. It is assumed by many that Labour Laws are restricted to orgnisations that employ many people.

This isn't so, the laws apply to businesses and organisations that even employ one person," she said. Ms Kabaka said that it is vital that SMEs understand the Labour Laws that protect them as employers.

She said SMEs as employers will learn the components of decent work, the right to being enrolled in social security schemes, salary scales, how to hire and fire, employment contracts and other issues.

Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Africa, for ILO, Mr Aeneas Chuma, said SMEs in the country should consider themselves privileged to have had the laws translated to Kiswahili.

"This invaluable document that we have just launched will help demystify Labour Laws and make them less intimidating," he said.

Mr Chuma said that according to recent statistics, SMEs employ more people than the government and the so called 'big companies' and that with most growing economies around the world including Tanzania having a population where over 70 per cent of the people are under the age 30 years.

This makes the need to promote entrepreneurship more urgent. He urged youth to work hard and think big and take advantage of the 120 million plus people in the EAC and SADC and to bear in mind that laws are not made to hinder progress.

Concurring with Mr Chuma, the Executive Director, Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), Dr Aggrey Mlimuka said there is serious need for an enabling and conducive environment that supports SMEs.

"Whilst it is important to be haggle over salaries and minimum wage, I think the concentration on issues pertaining to employment should be job creation and the law should come second," he cited.

Secretary General, Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA), Mr Nicholas Mgaya said that he is very satisfied that the Labour Laws have been translated into Kiswahili and that he is confident that the booklet will be very useful for both the employed and self-employed.

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