Labour Mar­ket In­for­ma­tion in­flu­ences pol­icy di­rec­tion

Lesotho Times - - Business - Adv. Karabo o Tl­hoeli

AS economies and so­ci­eties be­come more in­ter­re­lated the need to de­ter­mine and in­crease un­der­stand­ing of the sta­tus of the world of work be­comes more and more im­por­tant.

Well-timed and fo­cused in­for­ma­tion on labour mar­kets is re­quired; in­for­ma­tion that can por­tray the type of eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties that a coun­try and its peo­ple are en­gaged in; in­for­ma­tion that can show the size and the com­po­si­tion of the labour force; in­for­ma­tion that can show the level of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment re­flected in a na­tional labour mar­ket; in­for­ma­tion that shows the num­ber of peo­ple with­out work and those look­ing for work; the type of ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ment in­equal­i­ties as well as in­for­ma­tion on the cost at­tached to each spe­cific pop­u­la­tion group in the labour mar­ket.

All these listed in­for­ma­tion items are part of labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion (LMI) and their pro­duc­tion re­quire gath­er­ing, pro­cess­ing and anal­y­sis.

For ease of un­der­stand­ing, LMI is de­fined as any in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing the size and com­po­si­tion of the labour mar­ket (labour sup­ply and de­mand and their in­ter­ac­tion), or part of the labour mar­ket, the way that labour mar­ket or any part of it func­tions, prob­lems of that labour mar­ket, the op­por­tu­ni­ties which may be avail­able to it, and em­ploy­ment-re­lated in­ten­tions or as­pi­ra­tions of those who are part of the same labour mar­ket.

LMI is of­ten pro­duced and used by a net­work of in­sti­tu­tions, per­sons and in­for­ma­tion with de­ter­mined roles and func­tions which pro­duce, ar­chive, dis­sem­i­nate and use in­for­ma­tion, this net­work is of­ten re­ferred to as the labour mar­ket In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (LMIS). LMIS are more or less de­fined de­pend­ing on coun­tries and are of­ten em­bod­ied by labour mar­ket ob­ser­va­to­ries.

The de­vel­op­ment of labour statis­tics is the prin­ci­pal role of the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ILO). This is done through the de­vel­op­ment of In­ter­na­tional Stan­dards, the lat­est be­ing the Labour Statis­tics Con­ven­tion (No. 160, 1985).

The Con­ven­tion lays down prin­ci­ples, obli­ga­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions for the col­lec­tion and pub­li­ca­tion of labour and re­lated statis­tics.

Futher­more, ar­ti­cle 6c of Con­ven­tion No. 88 (1985) on em­ploy­ment is­sues, gives the Pub­lic Em­ploy­ment Ser­vices the power to col­lect, an­a­lyze and sup­ply data on the sta­tus of the labour mar­ket and its trends in co­op­er­a­tion with other au­thor­i­ties.

In the same man­ner, the Le­sotho Labour Code Act of 1992 as Amended Sec­tion 21 (e) gives Na­tional Em­ploy­ment Servises the power to col­lect in­for­ma­tion and statis­tics re­gard­ing the labour mar­ket, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion on labour re­quire­ments and labour sup­ply.

It is a clear fact that Le­sotho is faced with a chal­lenge of mak­ing in­formed pol­icy de­ci­sions on is­sues of na­tional de­vel­op­ment be­cause of lack of up-to-date labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion. For in­stance, we do not have statis­tics that in­form our train­ing needs. Train­ing in­sti­tu­tions are pro­vid­ing their ser­vice with­out knowl­edge of the needs of the labour mar­ket.

There is a need for a pol­icy di­rec­tion in this re­gard that will also be in­formed by clear sta­tis­ti­cal data.

Apart from that, it is a na­tional chal­lenge to prop­erly reg­u­late for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment be­cause we do not have skills data­base which im­me­di­ately in­forms us of who is el­i­gi­ble to be awarded a work per­mit.

It is there­fore an un­con­testable truth that the role played by labour statis­tics is no­tice­able in in­flu­enc­ing pol­icy for­mu­la­tion.

If there is team-up in sta­tis­ti­cal plan­ning and Na­tional Strate­gies for De­vel­op­ment of Statis­tics, then sta­tis­ti­cal data col­lec­tion plans have the po­ten­tial to pro­duce Labour statis­tics and in­di­ca­tors that feed into de­vel­op­ment of pol­icy in­stru­ments.

Ex­am­ples are but not lim­ited to, Macro-eco­nomic Poli­cies, Poverty Re­duc­tion Strat­egy, Labour Mar­ket Poli­cies, Em­ploy­ment pol­icy, Skill De­vel­op­ment Poli­cies and De­cent Work Coun­try Pro­grammes.

At the global level, the ILO plays a vi­tal role in as­sem­bling, analysing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing in­for­ma­tion to the world com­mu­nity.

Whilst at the na­tional level, labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion is gen­er­ally gath­ered by the Bureau of Statis­tics and the Min­istry of Labour and Em­ploy­ment.

How­ever, the Min­istry of Labour and Em­ploy­ment through the Na­tional Em­ploy­ment Ser­vices has the Labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion sec­tion which un­der­takes ad­min­is­tra­tive records data col­lec­tion, pro­cess­ing and anal­y­sis.

It is im­por­tant to men­tion that statis­tics col­lected in­di­cates that un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures from the Le­sotho Force Sur­vey of 1997 to 1999 stood at 34.2 and 27.3 per­cent re­spec­tively. In 2008 and 2009, these fig­ures were 24.6 and 29.4 per­cent.

Ex­am­i­na­tion of these fig­ures shows a de­crease from 1997 to 2008 and a rise in 2009. This rise has been associated with the global eco­nomic down­turn of 2008. Al­though var­i­ous coun­tries have shown im­prove­ment in this in­di­ca­tor, in Le­sotho un­em­ploy­ment re­mains a prob­lem as the World Bank es­ti­mated a pre­dicted rise to 46 per­cent.

On the other hand, un­em­ploy­ment rates by pop­u­la­tion groups are high­est among youth at 30.5 per­cent.

The rate for fe­males is the sec­ond high­est at 27.2 per­cent while un­em­ploy­ment rate con­sti­tuted 22.1 per­cent among males. In con­trast, the labour force ab­sorp­tion rate is high­est among males at 62.9 per­cent. Fe­males fol­low with 46.9 per­cent while least are youth with (39.8 per­cent).

The high rate of un­em­ploy­ment cou­pled with lower rates of labour force ab­sorp­tion amongst the youth and fe­males in­di­cates that there is a need to de­velop pro­grammes that will en­hance youth and fe­male em­ploy­ment. Con­se­quently, LMI plays a vi­tal role in in­flu­enc­ing pro­grammes of in­ter­ven­tions that will ad­dress un­em­ploy­ment prob­lems.

To ad­dress this chal­lenge of lack of labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion which the ar­ti­cle elab­o­rated its value, through the Le­sotho Labour Pol­icy that is in the pipe­line the Gov­ern­ment com­mits it­self that it will en­sure the es­tab­lish­ment and strength­en­ing in­sti­tu­tional frame­work and de­vel­op­ing of mech­a­nisms for reg­u­lar col­lec­tion, an­a­lyz­ing and dis­ser­mi­na­tion of labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion.

To achieve this, the fol­low­ing strate­gies will be adopted: de­vel­op­ing leg­isla­tive and reg­u­la­tory re­forms on labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion; es­tab­lish a net­work of in­sti­tu­tions that have mu­tu­ally rec­og­nized roles and func­tions.

This will pro­mote the pro­duc­tion, stor­age, dis­sem­i­na­tion and use of labour mar­ket re­lated in­for­ma­tion in or­der to max­i­mize the po­ten­tial for rel­e­vant and ap­pli­ca­ble pol­icy; har­mo­nize data col­lec­tion, anal­y­sis and dis­sem­i­na­tion of data to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and con­duct­ing re­search on labour mar­ket re­quire­ments and mon­i­tor the im­pact of labour leg­is­la­tion on dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers.

This ar­ti­cle has been writ­ten by the Min­istry of Labour and Em­ploy­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, do not hes­i­tate to con­tact us here: Tel: 22322565/22316255 Cell: 57905626

You can also find us on our Min­istry’s web­site: OR on our Face­book page (Min­istry of Labour and Em­ploy­ment Le­sotho)

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