By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
December 26, 2010
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Laoly Faiphengyoa spoke at a press conference on Friday to highlight the progress made by the sector over the past three and a half decades since the foundin g of the Lao PDR in 1975.
Assisted by nine labour recruitment enterprises, the ministry plans to add 276,828 people to the workforce over the next five years – equivalent to 55,365 workers a year, Mr Laoly told local media.
But officials estimate this figure will be insufficient to meet the domestic labour demand and say it will be necessary to import foreign workers to ensure steady economic growth.
To achieve the ambitious goal of converting agriculture-based Laos into an industrialised nation, the ministry will endeavour to balance its labour recruitment drive by reducing the proportion of the workforce employed in agriculture from 75.1 percent at present to 70 percent by 2015.
The number of people working in the industrial sector is set to increase from 5.5 percent to 7 percent, while manpower in the services sector is targeted for an increase from 19.5 percent to 23 percent over the same period.
In 1985, the proportion of the population working in agriculture was 89.2 percent, with industry and construction accounting for only one percent of the total workforce and services only 2.74 percent.
Since the Lao PDR was founded in 1975, almost 200,000 workers have been trained in various vocational skills and 1,041,661 Lao people have been recruited into jobs, Mr Laoly said.
In regards to social insurance, 11.74 percent of the population has access to social insurance, according to 2009 statistics when the nation’s population was 6,127,910. The ministry plans to increase health insurance coverage to 50 percent of the entire population by 2015.
Over the past 35 years, 19,635 officials and people have received various awards in recognition of their contribution to the national revolution and development tasks. A further 71,816 are set to be rewarded over the next five years.
Agencies under the ministry’s management have cleared unexploded ordnance from more than 20,464 hectares of land classified as agricultural and development areas.
Mr Laoly also listed the achievements the labour and social welfare sector has made in legislative work, including the formulation of the Labour Law, which was promulgated in 1990. The law was later amended twice in 1994 and 2006. The government has also already approved and promulgated a 10-year strategic plan for the 2011-20 period to develop labour skills.
However, Mr Laoly admitted there was room to strengthen legislative frameworks to better manage labour and social welfare, adding that legislation to regulate the sect or was not yet systematic.
The existing laws have not been properly absorbed, resulting in ineffective implementation, he noted.