President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday, June 26 signed into law, the long awaited Decent Work Bill after its passage by both houses of the Legislature but said enforcement remains a challenge.
“Sometimes we have the best of laws, but to enforce it is the challenge,” she said Mrs. Sirleaf said even though it took a while for lawmakers to pass the bill, she however commended them for mustering the courage and commitment to get it through finally.
President Sirleaf said the bill was passed in the manner in which it was submitted to lawmakers, and she didn’t think they changed anything “certainly not significantly” … which means that they were in full agreement.
She was confident the Decent Work Law will better the working conditions of people, while also reflecting on a recently passed law that establishes the small business which carries a provision requiring 25 percent of all government procurement to be directed to Liberian entities.
“We take that commitment seriously,” she emphasized, saying already the Public Procurement and Concession Commission or PPCC is working on some suggestion and guidelines as to how procurement laws will be met to make it easy for these entities to be able to benefit from this.
But she cautioned that it will only work if Liberian businesses themselves see this as an advantage and prepare themselves by ensuring they know the procurement law, implement the laws and ensuring integrity in their operations.
President Sirleaf however repeated government’s strong commitment to the enforcement of the law, as she asked everybody to cooperate because there will be penalties for violators. “The scrupulous enforcement of laws and policies is most times a challenge even with very good laws. All of us, including senior officials, institutions, organizations, workers and Liberians themselves have to play their part and support to full implementation of this long awaited Decent Work Bill for the good of the country,” President Sirleaf stressed.
Earlier presenting the Bill to President Sirleaf, Labor Minister Neto Zarzar Leigh said it was very important that Liberia was among few country trying to adopt the decent work concept, describing it a major achievement, a milestone and legacy that will go down in history.
Minister Zarzar thanked President Sirleaf, while also telling her that ally partners have expressed sincere thanks and appreciations towards the achievement when he and his delegates from Liberia visited Geneva for a meeting.
The Labor Minister also appreciated the Legislature for the passage of the law. Also speaking, Liberia’s Chambers Congress Vice President Mr. Tony Hage said the effort to reform Liberia’s labor standard was a result of many years of consultations among government workers and employers through the tripartite framework.
Mr. Hage said decent work may be achieved for those who are employed, but decent work law does not create jobs. He said it would improve the standard for labor and protect workers, thus making a qualitative difference for those who are fortunate to be employed.
But he suggested that these benefits be spread to all Liberians through job creation.-By Winston W. Parley – Edited by Othello B. Garblah