Over the past six months, the ILO has been carrying out a pilot project dubbed: ‘Formalisation of the Informal Economy’ in two communities in St. James. The beneficiaries are small business persons residing in the urban district of Granville, and the rural area of Garlands.
The year-long project, which is being done in collaboration with the Labour Ministry, is aimed at strengthening institutional capacities in local communities and building networks to enable participation in the formal economy.
In a speech delivered by Director, Industrial Relations and Allied Services, in the Ministry, Carl Wedderburn, at an ILO workshop on the Multi-national Enterprise (MNE) Declaration, at the Ministry’s North Street location in downtown Kingston, on July 27, the Minister said the project fits appropriately with the Government’s growth agenda.
Mr. Kellier further noted that it also serves to strengthen the Ministry’s mandate for human capital development, empowerment of vulnerable groups in the society and incorporating more Jamaicans in the development progress.
In addition, he pointed out that it offers one method to address the fundamental problem of youth unemployment, and should contribute to a reduction in the drift from rural communities to urban towns.
Meanwhile, ILO Specialist for Sustainable Enterprise Development and Job Creation, Kelvin Sergeant, explained that the idea behind the project is to deal with informal relationships to strengthen institutions, to introduce new skills and training and upgrade skills of persons in the informal economy.
He noted that several activities have been taking place under the project, including a number of workshops on enterprise training.
Mr. Sergeant said this latest workshop is looking at the aspect of the formalisation process which deals with strengthening or establishing links with multinational entities, many of which are operating in tourism and other sectors.
“The whole idea behind this workshop is to have a discussion around the multinationals to talk about the MNE Declaration and to see what has been happening with MNEs in Jamaica and to see what linkages there are, what are the issues, what are the debates and what can happen after,” he said.
The ILO’s MNE Declaration seeks to encourage the positive contribution enterprises can make to economic and social advancement.
It is a tool endorsed by tripartite co-operation to guide government, labour and capital in voluntary co-operation to promote socio-economic progress.
The workshop, hosted by the Ministry in collaboration with the ILO Decent Work Team from the Caribbean Regional Office in Trinidad and Tobago, sought to explore backward and forward linkages among multi-national companies in Jamaica and opportunities for enhancing employment, especially for informal entrepreneurs and business operators in the tourism sector.
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