By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
President George Manneh Weah has termed as another milestone of the modernization of the digitization of government operation for better efficiency and greater productivity of the digitization of work permit system at the Ministry of Labor, mentioning that this will bring Liberia on par with other African and Western countries.
“Until today, Liberia is the only West African country that is still using a manual work permit system. This innovation will not only improve efficiency but will increase revenue and provide new employment opportunities, President Weah noted yesterday, September 13, 2022, when he commissioned the Digitization of Work Permit.
The ceremony which took place at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, in addition, the Liberian Leader also said it will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Labor to protect and defend the rights of workers in the Republic of Liberia. This is a five-year project between the government of Liberia represented by the Ministry of Labor and the CETIS Graphics and Documentation Services of the Republic of Slovenia.
Delivering a special statement and commissioning of the project, President Weah made it known that he was further informed that in addition to upgrading from the manual to digital system, the project also provides for up front delivery of over five million United States dollars ultra-modern electronic equipment as well as the supply of 15 double carbine 4 by 4 Toyota Pickups, two keeps, five Sedans, and 35 Yamaha motorbikes.
“This contract also cover the supply of fuel, maintenance and endurance of all the equipment and vehicles as well as salaries and daily alliances for the entire five years duration of the project. This equipment will enable the Ministry of Labor to face the work permit regime of the government throughout the country”, he added.
He further that the project will also immensely enhance the capacity of the Ministry to inspect and ensure that safety and other conditions of workers in the workplace including overall compliance with Liberian Labor Law in both the formal and the informal sector of the economy.
This, according to the Liberian Chief Executive, will empower the Ministry of Labor to work more efficiently and continuously in all 15 counties of Liberia in both the rainy and dry season, stressing that the government takes seriously the protection of workers’ rights throughout Liberia and adequate employment for its people who are qualified, competent and available to work.
Furthermore, he expressed that as a responsible government it also has the responsibility to ensure that the investors are treated fairly in their relationship with government and their employees.
However, speaking further he emphasized that his government will not hesitate to take stringent measure against any employer who attempt to invade the payment of government taxes, or who try to infringe on the rights of workers.
The President went further by saying, the Ministry of Labor has the statutory responsibility to ensure that Liberians are given priority for jobs in the private sector, adding, “We must also ensure that Liberians are given wages that are comparable to the foreigners doing the same jobs. These policies must be adhered to without compromise while we seek to increase revenue for greater efficiency in the work permit regime. We will not compromise the rights of our citizens in employment opportunities”
We also want to see gender equity in employment, in both the private and public sector. We will continue to seek to build our economy by increasing employment opportunities to Liberians and prioritizing capacity building in the workplace, he added and committed his government fullest support to the project.
Giving the overview earlier, the Minister of Labor, Charles Gibson sad the project was birthed out of the need of the status of labor matter, when a study was commissioned by former Minister Moses Kollie in 2018 which determined that the work permit income could triple if it moves from manual to digital.
“And then when I took over as Minister of Labor, we started a vigorous Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) process. That process took a year. It took long but it brought results, sometimes we have to go back to the drawing board but eventually we came up with two successful companies. One CETIS for the Labor Law Work Permit, and Compact Global for the Immigration Permit”, he narrated.
Like President Weah, Minister Gibson said the project will provides essentially that the Ministry in its exercise statutory function will be able to more than double the revenue as he pointed out that the Ministry of Labor will surpass the Ministry of Transport in revenue contribution,
Continuing, he said the Ministry of Labor with these logistics will be able to be present and sufficiently exercise its responsibility in all 15 counties simultaneously. Because for the first time in the history of the country that the Ministry of Labor has sufficient logistics to go in every nook and cranny of this country.
“By these logistics we will be able to supervise worker compensation, safety in the workplaces, statistics, and many other indicators that the Ministry of Labor is able to identify, and through those information the right policy can be put in place”, said Minister Gibson.
In remarks, CETIS CEO, Roman Znidaric while expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to provide digitization to Liberia’s regime permit, maintained that his institution is one of the European leading company in security printing solutions.
“Today is just one of the important steps and we can do much more together. I personally believe that this solution is one of the best things in the world. This project will improve digital database for the development of Liberia.
“This will improve services for the government through latest technological services, and we will employ experts and satisfy our clients. We see this as a strategic successful long partnership”, he assured.