A high power delegation from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Regional Office in Abuja, Nigeria, is in the country as guest of the Ministry of Labour and the Labour Sector of Liberia.
The delegation which is headed by Madam Vanessa Phala, ILO Regional Director for English speaking West African States include Madam Chinyere Emeka-Anuna, Senior Programme Officer and Madam Invoilata Chinyangarara, ILO Specialist on Workers Activities (ACTRAV).
Welcoming the delegation to the country, Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson informed Madam Phala and her delegation that Liberia’ appreciates the visit and thanked her for the many supports the ILO has provided to the Labour Ministry and the Labour sector of Liberia.
Minister Gibson said that the primary request of the Government of Liberia to the ILO are in the areas of rehabilitation, skill training and job creation for disadvantaged youths and young adults commonly referred to in Liberian local parlance as “Zogoes” and “Zogees” as well as people living with disabilities.
During what is considered an initial meeting, the Labour Minister informed the delegation that during the Civil War in Liberia many of our young people were turned into boy soldiers and did not had the opportunity to go to school, neither did they have the opportunity to be brought up in a civil environment or homes.
He observed that many of these young people were also introduced to drugs and they are now young adults in the society.
The Labour Minister maintained that the effect upon them has made them not responsive to employment opportunities in the job market and the economy is feeling that gap. Hence the need to have them rehabilitated, skill trained and absorbed into the job market.
Cllr. Gibson informed the ILO Regional Director and Team that President George Manneh Weah is seriously concerned about these group of Liberians and has expressed the need for the ILO to assist in rehabilitating them.
Minister Gibson used the occasion to speak about ongoing development in the Labour Sector of the Country including the recent ratification of three ILO Instruments, reporting on various ILO Conventions, the harmonization of the Labour Law of Liberia with competing concerns, promotion of decent work environment, amongst others.
He told the ILO delegation that Liberia has finally submitted all of its outstanding reports to the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.
He hailed the partnership between the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), representing Employers’ Organization, the Liberia Labour Congress (LLC) representing workers and Trade Unions.
He however outlined the weaknesses of the LLC and stressed the need for the ILO to help strengthen their capacity to enable them to fully participate as a tripartite member in the labour sector of the County.
For her part, ILO Regional Director for English Speaking West African States, Madam Vanessa Phala thanked Minister Gibson and Team of the Ministry of Labour, acknowledging and appreciating their effort in term of the progress and achievements so far.
“I Record when we held our first meeting via zoom, there were quite a number of issues that we needed to finalize including the ratification of conventions, submission of reports and I am happy that all of these have been done. I think involvement and engagement in this process is really a testament of your willingness to get this going and your leadership in finalizing the method. On behalf of the ILO Director General, the ILO Regional Director for Africa and the ILO Assistant Director General we say thank you and your team for all the hard work that you put into this process.”
She said that the Decent Work Country Programme is a vehicle by which the ILO delivers technical support to countries. She said that if countries are able to articulate their priorities within the pargramme, it makes it easier for everyone. “I am also happy to see that there is a presentation around the Decent Work Country Programme of Liberia and this is a tripartite presentation which actually makes it very simple for us at the ILO.”
She promised to ensure that the ILO Decent Work Country Programme succeed in Liberia.
During the meeting which was also attended by all Deputy and Assistant Ministers of the MOL, as well as some Directors of the Labour Ministry, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), and the head of the ILO office in Liberia, Mr. Salif Haji Massalay, presentations on framework for the Decent Work Country Programme of Liberia were made while, the ILO visiting delegation also made presentation on Decent Work Country Programme best practices and guidelines.
ILO Regional Director is expected to hold discussions with the Liberia Labour Congress (LLC), the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) and other institutions and organizations.