Labour Minister Meets Indian Community
Labour Minister Hon. Moses Y. Kollie has announced that beginning April 1, 2018 the Ministry will embark on a joint inspection exercise across the country to ensure compliance with the Decent Work Act of 2015. He said that the inspection will be carried out alongside with the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).According to a Labour Ministry press release, Hon. Kollie made the pronouncement on Thursday, February 22, 2018 when he met with the leadership of the Indian Community in Liberia at his Labour Ministry office in Monrovia. The meeting was part of series of planned acquaintance meetings with major stakeholders of the labour sector of Liberia.
He used the occasion to inform the Indian Community that the Government of President George M. Weah campaigned on change, and as such his intention is to introduce new policies and plans in government to achieve the needed change.
“We are aware that there are challenges in the labour sector of the country, but we must put in policies to improve on them and at the same time provide full protection for both employers and workers in the country.”
The Minister reminded the Indian Community of the need for employers or employment entities bringing into the country foreign workers or expatriates, to first seek the prior approval of the Ministry, before requesting for the issuance of work permits to them to work in Liberia.
“We ask that you advertise all vacancies for positions in your entity in the local media to allow qualified Liberians to compete and if there is no qualified Liberian, before work permit can be issued for said position, but you have to show us proof by presenting copy of the publication.”
“We alsowant to encourage you to make full disclosure of the number of aliens in your employ, because we have given up to March 31, 2018 to employers to regularize the status of aliens in their employ.”
The Labour Minister commended the leaders of the Indian Community in Liberia for providing employment opportunities for Liberians and paying their taxes in keeping with law, but stressed the need for employers to introduce a counterpart system to enable Liberians to take over from expatriates.
He pointed out that his administration is in the process of establishing a hotline service to help curtail harassment and other forms of intimidations of the business community by people posing as labour inspectors or employees of the Ministry. He warned the business community to stop using employees of the Ministry to process alien document or work permit on their behalf.
“The Ministry of Labour is also concerned with other issues other than work permit such as decent work environment, wages, child labour, trafficking in person, amongst others. We are trying to dignify our inspectors to go after these things.”
In response, the Consulate of the Indian Community Mr. Upjit S. Sachedeva (Jetty) commended the Minister for the meeting and expressed his Community’s willingness to work along with the Ministry of Labour in ensuring the successful implementation of its planned exercise.
He however, appealed to the Minister to extend the deadline for the kick-off of the joint inspection exercise to April 15, 2018, noting that “this appeal is not only for the Indian Community, but for all foreign employers in Liberia.