By Olimatou Coker
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment ( MoTIE) with stakeholders on Friday wrapped up a 5-day sensitization and awareness raising on the National Employment Policy and Action Plan 2022-2026 and the National Labour Act 2023 in LRR, NBR, CRR and URR.
Part of the new national Labour Act 2023 includes administration of labour matters, licensing of private employment agencies and expatriate quota allocation board.
The five-year employment policy and the Labour Act 2023 were in circulation across the country. The sensitization team was in Basse on Thursday, and had an interactive session with participants, including young people from different communities in the region. The main message is for employers and employees to know their rights and obligations of an employment package.
Samba Bah, the Governor of Upper Region Region, explained the significance of the sensitization. He said it is of national importance.
“It is always prudent for us to have what we call a national employment policy that will be known to everybody. And at the same time also we have a Labour Act that will also help people get used to what is supposed to be done if you are employed.”
He added that there are so many young people who don’t know the existence of the Labour Act, that’s why we have lots of problems between employers. “But if all these things are discussed with the young people in the various regions, it is going to open up some of the problems that young people are facing and now they will align it with the National Employment Policy.”
Ousman Bah, the Governor of Central River Region, thanked the president for creating an enabling environment for partners and also citizens to operate in a very conducive environment. “As we know in CRR alone here last year a foundation stone was laid for skill training and also a foundation was laid in CRR South for agribusiness training. We have also the small ruminant project in YBK but we also have some other private operations. Just recently a skill training center is being opened here in CRR North; we have another one around Bush Town area; these will equip our youths with the required skills so that they can contribute maximally to the well being and development of this country,” he said.
Muktarr Drammeh, Officer at the Labour Department, said as part of the new employment policy that any private organization or company needs to register with the Department of Labor within six months of operation.
“Every person who operates a workplace shall, within six months of the coming into force of this Act, file with the Commissioner, a written notice stating the particulars and location of the workplace. Whenever there is a material change in any of the particulars appearing in the notice required in subsection, the person operating the workplace shall file with the Commissioner a written notice setting forth any such change, within one month of the effectuation of same; and with respect to any further material change, file a similar notice within one month of the effectuation of any such further change.” he explained.
He added that the employer shall keep the workplace in a clean state; prevent it from becoming overcrowded; and maintain a reasonable temperature.
Aisha Singateh, a participant, said the awareness campaign on these two important documents will serve as a guide to their current and future employment dealings.
“Actually, this program is very important to me because I learned a lot. I learned things that I have never known about,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Gambia government is intensifying efforts to create 150,000 jobs by 2026.