The Liberian Government through the Ministry of Labour has announced a 60-day ultimatum to all citizens of the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS residing within the borders of Liberia to obtain an official ECOWAS bio-metric identification card as a matter of compliance.
Speaking to The NewDawn on Monday at his UN Drive office in Monrovia, Labour Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe said, “The Ministry of Labour is pleased to inform all ECOWAS citizens residing within the borders of Liberia and are either working or seeking employment within the ‘informal business sector’ that they are required to be possession of an official ECPWAS Bio Metric Identification Card as a matter of compliance.”
According to Number 17, Section 2, category B of the Liberian Labour guideline, all ECOWAS citizens residing within the borders of Liberia and seeking employment within the informal sector to pay a work permit fee of US$100.00
Minister Lighe said the 60 days ultimatum commenced since February 26, 2015 and is expected to end on April 26, 2015. He noted that all ECOWAS Citizens operating or seeking employment within the informal sector of Liberia should obtain work permits either in Montserrado County or from its regional offices in the counties in keeping with regulation No. 17, Sector 2, Category B.
He narrated that as means of enforcing the government’s regulatory policy, the ministry has embarked on massive nationwide enforcement exercise.
The Minister said the intent is to place the Labour Ministry in a better position on statistics of ECOWAS Citizens working here and also limit them from taking jobs that are statutorily intended for Liberians.
He said certain jobs are strictly for Liberians, and added that Liberia’s diplomatic missions have been instructed to enforce this policy.
..We are engaging them that jobs intended for our people to be published where Liberians can apply. Besides, it is cheaper for those big concession companies and foreign mission here,” he said.
Minister Lighe noted that one of the challenges the Ministry is faced with is that Liberians do not have experience, but argued that experience should not be the only entry point, stressing, “Let our people be given the opportunity to work.”
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor