Employment policy

Key note address at the Seminar on the Implementation of Samoa National Employment Policy (NEP)

By Matin Karimli, Director ILO Office for the Pacific Island Countries at the Seminar on the Implementation of Samoa National Employment Policy (NEP)

Statement | Apia, Samoa | 24 October 2022
  • Mr Pulotu Chu Ling - Chief Executive Officer MCIL and Chairman of Employment Policy Council as well as Chairman of Samoa National Tripartite Forum
  • Representatives of Government Ministries
  • Representatives of Employers
  • Representatives of Workers
  • Representatives of Civil Societies
  • ILO colleagues in Samoa
A warm welcome to you all.

It is with great pleasure that I provide remarks from the ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries for this Seminar on Samoa’s NEP implementation which will lead to the implementation of Samoa National Employment Policy 2022-2026.

As you all know, the COVID-19 crisis has had significant impact on the labour markets in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs), including Samoa, bringing disproportionate levels of unemployment and underemployment across different groups of people, sectors and regions.

In response to this crisis, in 2020 the ILO worked with the Samoa Government, Workers and Employers organization to support the design of the second NEP and also to support the formulation of the proposed social protection policy.

Evidence from the rapid assessment we conducted in Samoa and elsewhere in the region has confirmed that a large number of workers were affected by the reduced income from losses of jobs, decreased working hours and a decrease in business revenues due to the partial or full closure of markets.

Young people and women among others in the informal sector are the most vulnerable to job losses resulting from such crisis and SMEs are also severely affected being amongst the most vulnerable.

The consequences of the current or other crisis are affecting not only the size of employment but also its composition in terms of the types of work, different sectors, skills and working conditions.

The best approach to strengthen the national economies in the PICs right now is to help reactivate labour markets and getting people back to work with some protection measures.

On the longer term, Samoa should work toward safeguarding itself against labour market vulnerabilities that were revealed during the crisis and addressing trends shaping the world of work, including climate change, to build a more resilient economy.

This requires implementing the national employment policies towards promoting a more job-rich and resilient recovery.

Transferring the employment policy priorities into practice is a multifaceted process that require solid commitment and coordination from all actors involved. It requires extensive efforts to define roles and responsibilities and well-coordinated governance structure.

I am extremely pleased with the efforts that will take place over the next two days. Those discussions and your participation in the seminar, from various sectors of the economy, demonstrate the willingness of the government, employers, workers, civil society as well as young women and men to have an active role in improving employment opportunities now and in the future.

Your deliberations over the next 2 days will shape the direction that Samoa takes in defining key priorities and the way forward. I encourage you to think on the positive and innovative changes and the policy directions that need to be taken to facilitate an optimistic future full of opportunities.

Thank you and have an enjoyable workshop.