In view of the social, health, financial and economic impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on the Senegalese economy, the Government of Senegal has developed a new Accelerated and Adjusted Priority Action Plan (Plan d’Actions Prioritaires Accéléré et Ajusté "PAP 2A") for economic recovery. This plan should very soon be the subject of consultations between the government and the private sector in the presence of the President of the Republic.
In this context, the National Employers Council of Senegal (Conseil National du Patronat du Sénégal – CNP) sumitted to the Government twenty (20) proposals for strong measures for economic recovery, 19 which are already taken into account in the said “PAP 2A” recovery plan.
CNP's proposals relate mainly to new methods of financing companies, the priority to be given to vital sectors (agro-industry and health), the acceleration of reforms on the business climate, integrating the informal sector into the mainstream economy, improving the legal and judicial framework for labor disputes, setting up a new regulatory framework adapted to teleworking and more flexibility in hiring young people, etc.
The Covid-19 crisis resulted in a decrease in GDP from 5.3% in 2019 to 3% in 2020. (Source International Monetary Fund)
At the outset of the health crisis, to contain the negative impacts on the economy, populations, businesses and workers, the Government set up an Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES) with a fund of XOF 1,000 billion.
Regarding more particularly the protection of workers, the Head of State signed Presidential Ordinance No. 001-2020 of 8 April 8 2020, on derogatory measures in case of dismissal and technical unemployment during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It should be noted that there were no specific provisions in the Labor Code and the collective agreement preserving a minimum of legal rights for workers placed on technical unemployment.
This ordinance was limited for a period of three (3) months and had to comply with the provisions of the Enabling Law passed by the National Assembly, that is to say, until 8 July 2020.
The ordinance specified the ban on dismissal during this 3-month period.
This ordinance imposed a significant financial obligation on employers: “During this period, the worker receives remuneration which may not be lower neither than the guaranteed minimum inter-professional wage nor to 70% of his average net salary for the last three (3) months of activity. In return, the employer benefits from state support measures".
These support measures for companies consisted in benefits from a State guarantee for bank loans (ranging from 20% to 50%) corresponding to the payments of 3 months of salaries, the deferral of payment deadlines for term bank loans, tax discounts and suspensions (exclusively reserved for a specific category of companies).
The employers supported the government in these difficult moments: as said Mr. Meissa FALL, President of the Technical Commission in charge of social dialogue and labor standards at the CNP “The health crisis is a decisive moment for State, social partners, companies, that each other can intelligently strengthen the complicity required in the creation and sharing of wealth, that is to say in the development of each other ”.
For his part, Mr. Baïdy AGNE, Chairman of the CNP, pleaded: "For an economic recovery without the collateral effects of health emergencies, social priorities and budgetary constraints on the company let us pay attention to the fiscal pressure and public order ”.