Today, I am pleased to be here attending the Inauguration Ceremony of the New Building, and Opening of the Stocktaking on the Implementation of 4 Year-Term Action Plan (2009-2012) and 2013 Direction Setting Conference of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the management and officials of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training on the brand new building for the offices of the ministry. In general, this achievement will be a strong basis to promote the productivity and efficiency of the work of the Royal Government as well as creating opportunities, that Cambodia would be proud and reputable on the international stage. Truly, the construction of physical infrastructure is our necessity, aiming to supply goods and promote public services in order to serve the interests of our nation to the maximum; and this work is also a priority of socio-economic development policy of Cambodia.
Besides that, today’s conference will provide many opportunities for all of us, especially officials in labor and vocational training sector at all levels to come together to discuss and exchange views to identify new measures for continued development of labor and vocational training sector of the nation with the view to ensure equity, promote quality and efficiency of all fields, and correspond well to the trust and confidence that our compatriots have placed in the leadership and management as well as the firm commitment of the Royal Government, in persistently overcoming all obstacles for the interests of our citizens, moving towards prosperous and bright future in line with the will and the wish of our whole nation.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to commend and greatly appreciate the efforts made by Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, who are the officials at all levels of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, on many achievements aiming to deliver public services and contribute to speeding up the economic growth and social development towards the poverty reduction of our people as planned.
In parallel, I am greatly delighted to see the active and tireless involvements of private sectors, which have important roles in promoting economic growth and country’s development at the present time and in the future, in labor and vocational training sector. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the relevant ministries, institutions, national and international organizations, and development partners, especially the International Labor Organization (ILO), an important partner that has been providing support for the development of labor and vocational training sector in Cambodia.
Labor and vocational training sector is regarded as a priority sector for the socio-economic development of many countries in the region and the world. On that note, Cambodia has set labor and vocational training sector as a priority in the dimension of the private sector and labor development in the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II, which has been playing a key role in creating job opportunities for our citizens and significantly contributing to direct poverty reduction of our people.
By and large, Cambodia has comparative advantages with low-cost labor force; however, we necessarily need to ensure continued investment in vocational training and professional education in order to fulfill the required skills of our labor force through collaborations between the Royal Government and the development partners, and the initiatives of the development partners and private sectors. For instance, we always provide the private sectors with consultation mechanisms and enable them to directly communicate with the Royal Government in order to provide continued support for the development of our labor and vocational training sector, making it become more efficient.
In this context, Cambodia is proud to have quickly emerged from the 2009-2010 global economic downturn. For instance, the quick and firm recovery of Cambodia’s economy after the global economic crisis with economic growth at 6% in 2010 and 7.1 in 2011, and the expected economic growth at 7% in 2012, will make our economy grow with annual average of 6.7% in the post crisis period (2010-2012). Truly, all these outcomes are not random; they have come about by our firm political will of the Royal Government along with the policy measures set out and the righteous and proper strategies as well as the infrastructure and management method with efficiency in responding to the effect of the Global Financial Crisis, especially to promote the recovery of the garment sector that can absorb the labor forces of approximately 450, 000 workers, increasing the export of textiles, tourism growth, construction of buildings and increased rice export to the freign countries.
The employment and vocational training is truly an essential interrelated sector with neccessity that is complementary with other sectors without absence. In this regard, I would like the conference to discuss more comprehensively in order to search for neccessary solutions for the betterment of employment services and allocation of the professional training that is most appropriate to the integration of the upcoming ASEAN Community by 2015.
At the same time, I would like to request the conference to seek key issues in providing protection and enhancement to the rights of the migrating workers by focusing on the social studies, and seeking to better understand the possibility that may happen to our people, especially the poor, housewives, and the vulnerables, that are the major challenges, resulted from ASEAN integration.
In this regard, in order to contribute to this conference, I would like to provide a number of recommendations to be used as foundation for discussion as follows:
First: Take measure in reducing risky migration of the people by explaining our domestic employment potentials, especially the working opportunity in agricultural sector through all means in order to disseminate and enhance public awareness on the advantages and disadvantages of migration, existing migration policy, rights and law on employment to be more comprehensive through organizing seminar, training workshops directly to the local people.
Second: Strengthen the efficiency of employment and job diversification strategies through implementing the advanced employment sector with the objective to strengthen competitiveness of ASEAN. The implementation of ASAN declaration on the protection and enhancement of the rights of migrant workers through setting up instrumental document that has to start the process by focussing on various issues according to the situation of all member states and is confrming to the existing national law and policy of each member state.
Third: Strengthen the employment quality by urging the municipal, provincial, district authoriies to participate in development and disseminate the job market need, and profesional skill requirement in Cambodia that will enable the market integration in the region, especially the creation of Job Centers in the municipality, provinces, and mobile dissemination of information to the rural locality as much as possible.
Fourth: Produce human resources by focusing on quality of technical and vocational training that is responding completely to the requirement of job market, technology, and encouraging each training institution to build close relation with the job market. The improvement of human resources capacity is the acceleration and diversification of the economy in the context of increasing comparative advantage for the medium term in the future.
In this connection, we have to intensively focus on education and technical and vocation training in order to support our poor men and women, and the vulnerable to meet the job market.
Fifth: Strengthen the implementation of law on employment and private sector whch are the key partners of the Royal Government in ensuring the sustaiability of employment sector development and professional training in Cambodia, and along with the implementation of law, there shoud be an effective vocational training and employment inspection at the factory, enterprises, and institutions on working conditions, hygiene and health, working safety, child labor, and use of foreign workers, and implementation of syndicate freedom on the employment laws and regulations, especially the additional consideration on the short term contract, continuing to build the law on syndicate and other rules and regulations that can be accepted by all parties.
Sixth: Promote the detailed consideration on better interest of the employees-employers in order to contribute to the effective poverty reduction through gradual implemnetation of law on social security for anybody who is under the purview of employment law, especially to pay attention to the part time workers who are unable to receive the pension budget, health insurance, and protection on employment risk such as danger and health damage…..etc.
Through what I have already mentioned, I strongly believe that the conference will put these recommendations into consideration as aide memoire on the implementation of their roles and obligations according to the objectives set by the conference for 2013, and in order to lift up the national interest.
Once again, I would like to appeal to Excellencies, Ladies ad Gentlemen, and all Participants to actively participate according to the set plan as well as sharing information, knowledge, and experences gained from this conference for the improvement of the implementation to achieve more achievements, based on the Employment and Vocational Training Developent Stategy for Cambodia.
Before ending, I would like to highly value, once again, the efforts made by the management and officias of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, and related institutions at the national and sub-national levels as well as development partners and private sectors who have,so far, actively angaged in the employment and vocational sector.
At the end, together with the Inauguration Ceremony of the New Building, and Opening of the Stocktaking on the Implementation of 4 Year-Term Action Plan (2009-2012) and 2013 Direction Setting today, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.