Minister of Employment, Labour, and Social Security, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, on Wednesday met with the World Bank’s Practice Manager, Social Protection and Jobs; Madam Camilla Holmemo; at his office in New England Ville.

Madam Holmemo is responsible for nine countries in Africa and she was meeting Swaray for the first time. She was accompanied by the Bank’s Senior Social Protection Specialist, Dr. Abu Kargbo, and other senior officials of the World Bank Group.

Congratulating the minister on his new role, the World Bank Manager said that she was delighted to be in Sierra Leone, and complimented the minister for his job as Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security.

“What you are doing in Sierra Leone is very important for the welfare and safety of workers,” she noted.

She expressed interest in knowing what programs the Ministry is currently working on or has in the pipeline, adding: “We would be happy to discuss ideas and give you support wherever we can.”

“We are looking forward to future collaborations and partnerships, Madam Holmemo stated.

In his response, the Minister, Swaray, thanked the World Bank team for their visit and their interest in working with the Ministry.

In the area of Social Protection, the Minister revealed that work is already in progress to expand the country’s Social Protection coverage to the Informal Sector.

He referenced the Social Protection Bill, which is currently at an advanced development stage, noting that it will provide a guide for Social Protection interventions in the country. He said that the Bill when it becomes Law, will set the path straight for the Ministry as the Social Protection Authority in the country.

“We cannot continue to have Social Protection actors scattered all over the place. We need coordination, and that is one thing that the Law is going to legalize,” the Minister went on.

He said that several other laws were currently either at the Law Officers’ Department of the Ministry of Justice or at Parliament for enactment.

Amongst these, is the reviewed Occupational Safety and Health Bill which will modernize and bring up to standard the Factories Act of 1974.

“The Directorate needs overhauling. All the equipment is outdated and broken,” Swaray furthered.

The Labour Minister pointed out that the Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers’ Act 2023 is already in force, as a way of curtailing illegal, uncoordinated, unsafe, and indecent Labour Migration, noting that the Ministry now awards operating License to Private Recruitment Agencies.

These agencies are the only authorized bodies to carry out overseas recruitment and deployment of Sierra Leoneans who wish to work abroad, especially in the Gulf State.

“However, we still see people going on temple runs, some are being trafficked. Establishment of Labour Desks at all major border crossing points of the country is in the ministry’s list of activities,” the Labour Minister said.

He said that the Ministry also needs assistance in the development of the Labour Market Information System (LMIS).

This, he said will be a hub for all information regarding labor and employment in Sierra Leone. It will also set the pace for the conduct of the Labour Force Survey, which was last done in 2015.

“These and more put together, with support from development partners, we will be able to do a lot of things in the Employment, Labour and Social Security sectors. I see a lot of partnership opportunities here as we remain committed to decent work for all Sierra Leoneans,” the Labour Minister concluded.