National focal points for the promotion of the MNE Declaration in Sierra Leone: key milestones achieved in 2022

The year 2022 has been fruitful for the national focal points for the promotion of the Tripartite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) in Sierra Leone. The focal points - located in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MOLSS), the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency, and in employers’ and workers’ organizations (Sierra Leone Employers Federation and Sierra Leone Labour Congress) - have taken new initiatives to promote the Declaration and the application of its principles in the country.

In 2022 key milestones of their national action plan have been implemented:
  • Constituents have requested to mainstream the MNE Declaration in the Sierra Leone Decent Work Country Programme Phase two currently in preparation;
  • The Technical Working Group established in 2021 under the leadership of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MOLSS) to coordinate actions for the promotion of the MNE Declaration across national institutions and ministries benefited from a 2-day capacity building workshop during which it developed its workplan for 2022-2026;
  • The national focal point in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) developed a Cabinet Paper on the ratification by Sierra Leone of ILO Convention No. 169 (on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples). This Convention is one of the Convention mentioned in the annex I of the MNE Declaration, which the government of Sierra Leone has not yet ratified;
  • An Assistant Director of Labour and Employment has been appointed to carry out the activities of the MNE unit of the MLSS and a concept note on strengthening the capacity of the MNE Unit in the MLSS has been developed to solicit support from development partners;
  • Issues related to the formalization of the informal economy are currently being addressed with the MLSS and the National Social Security and Insurance Trust working to develop policy and legislation. Steering and Technical Committees have been established for the review of social security legislation, to fully incorporate the informal economy. The MLSS and the national focal point from the Sierra Leone Labour Congress are part of both Committees to ensure the MNE Declaration and particularly its paragraph 21 are taken into account so that its overall aim can be achieved. on this issue;
  • The Sierra Leone Employers Federation (SLEF) identified MNEs operating in Sierra Leone and visited them to introduce them to the MNE Declaration and encourage them to become members of the SLEF;
  • The Sierra Leone Trade Union Network on MNEs that was established last year, organized awareness raising and training sessions on trade union’s rights within the context of the MNE Declaration. The Network worked closely with the government, local authorities and other stakeholders to promote social dialogue to address issues affecting informal economy workers;
  • The Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC) advocated for a labour law review to foster the positive impact of MNEs on development. Three labour laws (Employment Act, 2022, Work Permit Act, 2022 and Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers Act, 2022) are now in Parliament awaiting enactment;
  • The Sierra Leone Local Content Agency (SLLCA) has set up roundtable face to face meetings with multinational enterprises that has led to linkages between multinational enterprises and local entrepreneurs. The SLLCA regularly visited multinational enterprises to monitor local content performances and organized quarterly meetings with several economic sectors, including agriculture and agri-business, mining, petroleum, construction, and hotel and tourism sectors.
The national focal points have been taking full ownership of the ILO instrument since their appointment in July 2019 through the adoption of a national action plan and the implementation of a wide range of activities addressing different dimensions of the MNE Declaration. They have been actively sharing their experience with other ILO Member States within and outside of Africa.