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Red flag as Bigirimana orders labour export firms vetting

Mi. Pius Bigirimana, the PS -Ministry of Gender faces scrutiny over a directive to local exporting companies to submit a list of their employees and bank statement for vetting. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Mr. Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour has ordered all labour export companies to submit a list of their employees and bank statements for financial year 2017/2018.

In a June 5, 2019 letter seen by this website, Mr. Bigirmana said Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] has requested for a list of employees working in each agency along with their bank statements.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request you to submit the information requested for through Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies [UAERA] by June 10, 2019,” reads an excerpt from the letter that has since attracted public criticism.

Industry commentators have questioned the timing and reasons behind the Gender PS’ directive and wondered why companies have audit statements, labeling the directive by PS Bigirimana as completely illegal.

The government last month suspended licensing and registration of new external labour recruitment companies to pave way for investigations into allegations that staff in the relevant Ministry is abusing the process.

According to a notice issued by Mr. Bigirimana the move was intended to review internal processes and procedures in the management of externalization of labour.

“The ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is currently reviewing internal processes and procedures in the management of externalisation of labour. This is in an effort to improve overall workflow efficiency in the external employment management information system. On that note, the ministry has temporarily suspended the licensing of new external labour recruitment companies until further notice,” the notice reads.

Bigirimana said he was carrying out an internal evaluation of the process to ensure that “we do the right things as government and also the same with the labour exporters”.
The suspension came amid reports that some ministry officials connive with external labour exporters to illegally clear under-aged girls to work as maids in Arab countries.

Others have either left the country without a medical checkup or with fake documents. In the end, such recruits tend to suffers from abuse and even death in foreign countries.

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