By Mohamed Amara Gando
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Sierra Leone Parliament who also doubles as the Chairman for the Committee on Internal Affairs, Hon. Alusine Kanneh has registered his dismay in which some Sierra Leoneans are being marginalized by some foreigners in the country and called on the Minister of Labor, Alpha Osman Timbo and Labor officials to fully execute and implement the Working Permit Act of 2022 and the Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers Act of 2022 if passed into law. He made this called on Wednesday 18 January during the debate of the Working Permit Act of 2022.
According to the Deputy Chief Whip, Sierra Leoneans are suffering in the hands of foreigners because laws passed to protect Sierra Leoneans are not properly implemented by government agencies.
“Today the Minister is before us with the Employment Act of 2022 to enact, it is good to have a proper labor law as far as working permit and functions that has to do with the Labor Ministry, but my concern is the implementation of these laws. Over the years when these laws are passed, agencies that are responsible to implement them failed us” he said.
He pointed out that there are foreigners in this country operating freely and there are also companies that are operating in Sierra Leone without having proper document to operate, citing that mining companies that have to do with expatriate which he lamented that some are not even qualified to operate but are still operating.
“I am with the conviction that when issues like unlawful termination of contract between Sierra Leoneans who are working in the Ministry of labor, that labor worker will take side in supporting that particular foreign company who are the employers, the reason being because at the end he or she is expecting something from that foreign company, he or she will abandon his Sierra Leoneans brother or sister” he stated.
He underscored that what he has observed over the years in Sierra Leone since he has been in the country, is that most of the labor officials are not up to the task and that they are supposed to be out there to act like CIA , making sure that they find out who’ve not got the right working permit.
“For example, I have a Nephew that was working for a Lebanese man about four years ago, he was abused unfairly, and I intervened and then in the end one of your workers in the labor ministry did the wrong thing. Is it possible for you to implement and execute what is before us when it is enacted by this house” he asked.
The Deputy Chief Whip sounded that the bill is a very good bill and that the bill will empower citizens. He recalibrated that after spending so many years overseas, he realized that their laws are very strong when it involves their people and that Sierra Leone should reciprocate the same by protecting Sierra Leoneans against foreigners.
He urged the Minister of Labor to implement these laws, and more importantly, make sure that these laws are enforced. He reemphasized that good laws are passed but the implementation have been a very big challenge, encouraging the Labor Minister that he should make sure these laws are fully executed for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone.