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 As Sierra Leone celebrates Workers Day…

President Koroma promises to address paltry pension scheme

May 4, 2016 By Victoria Saffa

President Ernest Bai Koroma has promised to meet with pensioners in a bid to address the issue of paltry pension scheme, after receiving a letter from Acting President of Labour Congress, Jennes Wright, on behalf pensioners Monday, 2 May.

President Koroma was addressing workers and Union leaders during the celebration of Labour Day as he launched the National Employment Policy (NEP) at Miatta Conference Hall.

Sierra Leonean pensioners receive a paltry Le43,000 (less than US$10) per month as pension.

As hundreds of workers marched Monday, which was declared a public holiday, the president made a commitment to protect workers, adding that his government takes labour issues very seriously.

He revealed he would be meeting with pensioners, ex-Comium workers, reduce the number of casual workers and also strengthen the Ministry of Labour to do their work properly.

 “Our target should be the ordinary man, that is more reason why workers must be protected,” he said.

“The document I am about to launch focuses on the protection of employees and to create employment for dozens of our people who do not have jobs. This can also be possible through training and other orientation. People need work but they need qualified workforce that will deliver and by this we will reduce poverty in the country,” President Koroma said.

He said his government would take actions to help workers and those without job secure one, adding that 1 May would henceforth be a public holiday.  He said the document he was about to launch was titled ‘Employment Management Plan’, which protects both employees and employers.

“This document also focuses on making employment sustainable, creates an atmosphere where everybody benefits, both the employers and employees. Let’s make ourselves employable so that we can be employed. We need to develop the work place, the employer and employee. This will take time, but we need to push forward though it will take some amount of time,” he further stated and added that the action was in line with UN guidelines to formalise the country’s workforce.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Mathew M. Teambo, said celebrating the achievement of workers was significant, and congratulated workers on the landmark achievement of reviewing a National Employment Policy.

He commended GIZ and the International Labour Organization (ILO) for their support in reviewing of the policy, noting that the overarching goal was to create decent employment for the people of Sierra Leone.

He added that the NEP strategy and implementation was also geared towards rapid and sustained employment growth, consistent with the development priorities of the state, with a view to reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development, as expressed in the Agenda for Prosperity.

“The strategy underlying the NEP is to significantly increase the employment content of economic growth in Sierra Leone; this approach implies a vigorous and determined response at macro, micro and sectoral levels, through the adoption of employment-oriented policies in the context of the development and transformation of the national economy,” said Dr. Teambo.

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