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Don’t politicize labour export, sector players urge govt

The girls share a light moment before departure to the Middle East to work. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – External labour recruitment agents have asked the public to desist from politicizing the externalization of labour issues warning that the economy would lose out on the growing business through revenue collections.

According to the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), $1.2 billion (about UGX4.4 trillion) is remitted to the country by migrant workers, half of that about $600 million (UGX2.2 trillion) from the Middle East alone.

The agents said that instead of acting on rumours and peddling lies through social media, the public should seek for proper information through the line ministry (of labour) and through the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) offices.

“There is a general lack of information about the externalization of labour and as a result, many people especially politicians have resolved to debate without facts and calling for the closure of our businesses. This is not the solution to the challenges faced,” said Mr Gordon Mugyenyi, the Managing director Middle East Consultants Limited.

According to Mr Mugyenyi, Parliament should instead enact stringent policies to regulate migrant labour as a measure to safeguard the citizens.

He made the remarks while handing over travel documents to more than 100 youth to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they work as helpers in the Oil and Gas Sector for a two years’ renewable contract.

He was responding to questions in regard to complaints by Members of Parliament over trafficking and mistreatment of migrant workers in the Middle East Countries.

Earlier on, UAERA chairperson, Mr Andrew Kameraho said in a statement that labelling of externalization of labour as slave trade is totally uninformed revealing that more than 27,000 licensed workers are currently deployed in Jordan alone and Saudi Arabia has 28,000 who continue to carry out their work with no complaints.

“The registration and licensing of companies through which individuals can find employment abroad is a government of Uganda Programme intended to manage the safe and monitored employment of Ugandan citizens,” said Mr Kamerahi adding; “Where issues arise, those are addressed through the recruitment firms.”

Last week, government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UAE to formalise the migration of Ugandan workers to the UAE in a bid to have a smooth and legal export of labour.

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