KAMPALA —The Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Amb. Abbey Walusimbi has tasked the Ministry of Gender to urgently professionalise the externalisation of labor.
This was during a stakeholders meeting organised by Amb. Walusimbi held at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) which attracted a number of government bodies including; BOU, UIA, UTB, Post Bank, Office of the President, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Lands, NIRA, Parliament, OWC, Ministry of Gender among others.
Amb. Walusimbi said that many Ugandans living in the middle East go through horrible working conditions which situation must be changed.
“I request that export of labour becomes professionalized so that our people are safe at all times; these are our sons and daughters who deserve to be treated well as they offer their valuable services abroad,” Walusimbi said.
Walusimbi noted that this can be done by establishing bi-lateral agreements with the different countries unlike the current state where Ugandans are abroad on their own which increases their risk in the foreign land.
Milton Kamburwa a technocrat from the office of Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs noted that it’s time the Ministry thinks of creating opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled labor other than continuing to simply encourage export of house maids which has turned into modern day slavery.
In response to the concerns raised, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Aggrey David Kibenge noted that the Ministry is indeed appreciative of the initiative spearheaded by Amb. Walusimbi which aims at bettering the lives of Ugandans living abroad.
Kibenge said that the Ministry is alive to the fact that the diaspora contributes over Shs1.4bn as direct foreign investment of which a sum of Shs900m is remitted from the middle East.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that better regulations are put in place to ensure that better conditions are in place to favor our sons and daughters as their work in foreign countries,” Kibenge said.
He noted that the Ministry has already contacted the solicitor General with a draft of new regulations that will create sanity within the labor exportation sector.
“Key among the new regulations include; an increase in the Bank guarantee of every registered labor recruitment agency from UGX. 50m to UGX. 100m, the ministry will have to first review every contract the migrant workers sign with the recruitment company as well as strengthening the Labor attachee office at our missions abroad,” Kibenge said.
He added that the country is in talks with other countries in the middle East to sign more bi-lateral agreements which will help in streamlining the operations of Ugandan migrant workers in those countries.
On his part, URA Commissioner General , John Musinguzi noted that the initiative by Amb. Walusimbi is timely adding that it time time to win back the trust of diasporas in their home government.
Musinguzi promised to immediately create a diaspora desk at URA that will give preferential treatment to the diasporas in regard to addressing their tax challenges.