By T’soloane  Mohlomi

MASERU – Arclac has launched the Lesotho Leg of its 21st Annual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials, which is responsible for Labour, Employment and Manpower issues in Anglophonic Africa.

The three day conference was launched yesterday at Avani Lesotho in Maseru and will see delegates from various African States engage in a wide range of issues around labour and employment.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Minister of Public Service, Labour and employment, Hon. Richard Ramoeletsi upon welcoming all guests at the event, said he was gratified to speak at the African Regional Labour Administration Center (ARLAC) annual general meeting which was now being hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Employment.

Hon. Ramoeletsi urged attendees to grasp the opportunity of visiting and experiencing the splendor and pristine landscape of the kingdom of Lesotho, while on their visit. He said the meeting came at a critical time when the Lesotho Government had restructured some of its Ministries to bolster their efficiency, which upon other things resulted in the merger of the Ministry of Public Service and that of Labour.

“I am indeed delighted to be part of this opening ceremony and would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Cabinet, under the stewardship of The Right Honorable Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, for supporting our bid to host this important meeting.

“A warm welcome to you all! As Lesotho, we are grateful that you honored the invitation to come and hold this meeting here. It is truly an honor for Lesotho to host this 21st Session of the Meeting 16 years after hosting the 5th Session in 2007. I assure you the best hospitality in accordance with Basotho culture during your stay.

“I invite you to take a tour during your three days visit to view Lesotho’s beauty and mountainous landscape enriched with valleys and sparkling waterfalls.”

In addition he thanked the ARLAC secretariat and the Lesotho organizing team for their tireless efforts in ensuring that the meeting became a success.

“This meeting comes at a critical time when Lesotho Government has reconfigured Ministries and the former Ministry of Labour and Employment merged with that of public Service and also ratification of Convention 151 which extends unionization and collective bargaining rights to public officers is a notable milestone achieved by government.”

More importantly the 21st Annual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials takes place at a time when the global economy is enduring a difficult period due to declining growth rates. The mandate of ARLAC is to strengthen the labour administration systems in member countries particularly and that cannot be divorced from the current global economic trends.

This is important mainly because it is common cause that sound labour administration systems are fundamental for good labour market governance, equitable economic development and the effective implementation of international standards and decent work agenda.

“Distinguished delegates I have been reliably informed that ARLAC is committed to accelerated execution of the resolutions of its Governing Council through, interalia, the working parties and I can assure you that this is a commendable model. I encourage that this approach be maintained and that expected deliverables be attained within the set timelines,” added the Minister.

Also speaking at the event, incoming chairperson of the Committee of Senior Officials and Principal Secretary to the Ministry Public Service, Labour and Employment Ms. ‘Makhoabane  Ledimo, said she was honoured to join the ARLAC committee of Senior Officials as the incoming chairperson. She said that the Committee was important as it dealt with various rigorous processes which were essential in the labour sector and ensuring that all issues were addressed.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the third meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials held this year after the 7 March 2023 meeting held at the Ethiopian Sky Light in Addis Ababa and the one held on the 12th of June 2023 at the ILO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland, this meeting  is therefore a continuation of such.

“The Committee of Senior Officials is an important component of the ARLAC governance system as it consists of the chief accounting officers within the Ministries of Labour, Employment and Manpower in ARLAC member countries,” she said.