Diagnostics of Informality in Tajikistan

“The three pillars of the ILO human-centred agenda for the future of work – investing in people’s capacities, investing in the institutions and work and investing in decent and sustainable work - will surely guide the national efforts in reducing informality and promoting formalization” – this statement was made by Valentin Mocanu, ILO Moscow Senior Specialist on Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and OSH, at the opening of a national tripartite + round table in Dushanbe on 9 April, organized in the framework of the ILO project “From the Crisis towards decent and Safe Jobs”.

News | 09 April 2019
Taking into account the multifaceted and complex nature of discussions of informal economy and informal employment challenges, the round table was attended by representatives of the relevant  ministries, state agencies and social partners: the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and Social Development, Ministry of Education and Science, Agency on Statistics, Committee on Taxes, Agency on Social Insurance and Pensions, Federation of Agency on Social Insurance and Pensions, Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Employers’ Unions.

The round table was opened by Emin Sanginzoda, First Deputy Minister of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan, who stressed that in the recent years the government has been investing much efforts to decrease the level of informality in Tajikistan and to stimulate formal employment of working-age population, including by implementing the measures under the previous Comprehensive Programme to reduce the unregistered (informal) employment in the RT for 2015-2017.

One of the objectives of the round table was to present two diagnostics reports on informality in Tajikistan, developed with the ILO technical support, namely “Quantitative diagnostic” prepared by the Agency of Statistics under the President of the RT, and “Qualitative diagnostic” based on surveys with employees, trade union representatives and employers, prepared by the Institute of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population.

According to the Statistical Committee under the President of the RT, non-agricultural informality in Tajikistan went down to 29,4% in 2016, compared with 53,8% in 2009. This significant decrease certainly called for the analysis of its causes. However, as of today agriculture that represents almost 50% of total employment was not included in the analysis of informal economy in Tajikistan.
Outside agriculture, one out of three workers in informal employment is in the construction sector.

Experts from the ILO headquarters - Juan Chakaltana (EMPLOYMENT) and Florence Bonnet (WORKQUALITY) - provided technical inputs to both reports and came up with a consolidated analysis of the situation with informal employment in Tajikistan and priority actions for its reduction. The DWT/CO Moscow specialists – Valentin Mocanu, and Jasmina Papa, Social Protection Specialist – highlighted some important technical dimensions of labour administration system and social security that need to be taken into account to reduce informal employment.

Last but not least, the important objective of the workshop was to present the main goals and priorities of the new Programme of Reduction of Unregistered (Informal) Employment for 2019-2023 and its Implementation Plan, developed by the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population, with support of a local and international consultants. The Implementation Plan will take into account the main findings of the diagnostics reports, which serve as a good basis for establishing priorities for reducing informality in Tajikistan.

The participants called for involving different institutions in the process of Programme formulation, monitoring and implementation. Ismail Faizizoda, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the RT, stressed the role of trade unions in protecting rights and representing interests of informal and self-employed workers. He referred to the experience of the mobile theatre “Step out of the shadow!” as a good example of a broader campaign for formalization. Azizbek Sharipov, Chairman of the Union of Employers of the RT, called for paying closer attention to the agricultural sector where informality is widespread but not assessed.

In conclusion the participants stressed the importance of an integrated and comprehensive approach to facilitate the transition to formality in line with the ILO Recommendation No. 204. There is still a long way ahead, but the discussions at the round table have shown that the political will of the government and social partners to address the informality issue is there.