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Trade Ministry commences 6-day sensitisation on bilateral labour agreements

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By Mariatou Ngum

The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE) has entered into bilateral labour agreements with some countries for Gambians to work abroad. So far four countries have signed labour agreements with The Gambia and they are: United Arab Emirates, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Spain.

To raise awareness about these agreements, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, and its partners on Monday, 8th July 2024 commenced a six-day regional sensitisation exercise in Bwiam, West Coast Region. The sensitisation programme is funded by the Spanish Government and ECOWAS.

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Bilateral labour agreements play a crucial role in managing labour migration between countries. These formal agreements or memoranda of understanding ensure that migration occurs according to agreed principles and procedures. Government opted for this initiative to curb the menace of irregular migration, create employment opportunities and enhance remittance flow.

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Bwiam, Ismaila Danso, Deputy Permanent (DPS) Secretary at the Trade Ministry, who leads the sensitisation programme, on behalf of the Ministry, thanked the participants for attending the forum.

He reminded that in 2022, the government launched a National Employment Policy and Action Plan 2022-2026, aimed at facilitating the creation of jobs, especially for the young people. This policy, he said, has a target of facilitating the creation of 150,000 jobs.

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According to him, the policy has some strategies towards achieving this target and one of the strategies is for the government to engage in some manpower labour agreements with countries that do require skilled and unskilled jobs.

DPS Danso assured that these agreements are done in consideration of the lives of the people and decent working condition requirements; that beneficiaries would be protected, and accorded the dignity and all the rights the employees in those countries enjoy.

In his opening remarks, Alagie Jawara, representative of the Governor of West Coast Region, commended The Gambia government for the laudable initiative. According to him, government has taken this opportunity because they cannot employ everybody. “Thus, they have striven hard to create an opportunity to ensure that our abled-bodied workers are able to move from this country to another where they can gain, learn and generate fund for their people back home,” he asserted.

Mr Jawara therefore called on the participants to disseminate the message to communities.

Partner institutions collaborating with MoTIE for the sensitisation include: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad; Department of Labour, National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP).

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