KAMPALA: In the last two years, a total of 70,862 Ugandans have secured jobs abroad through different recruitment agencies, State minister for Youth Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi has revealed.
The employed group, Kiyingi said, is remitting $7million (about sh25billion) per month.
Ms Kiyingi, who had appeared at Media Centre on Friday afternoon, together with other officials from the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development said government has facilitated access to decent employment opportunities abroad.
Government recently licensed 95 recruitment agencies, after suspending and cancelled many, which were involved in illicit labour activities.
“This has contributed to poverty reduction, boosting foreign exchange inflows and easing of pressure on the domestic labour market.
Friday marked the end of government Manifesto week, with Gender ministry reviewing its achievements to journalists.
Willis Bashasha, then director of Manifesto Implementation Unit in the office of the President, who has been in charge of the manifesto week, said the activities of the Gender ministry are critical because they empower communities .
“Vulnerable groups benefit a lot and the sector helps to increase labour productivity,” Bashasha added.
Kiyingi said Government established the External Employment monitoring information system to monitor external jobs and deployments.
Laws on employment
Kiyingi revealed that Cabinet is currently reviewing the recommendations of the Minimum Wages Advisory Board submitted in a report in February, on the feasibility of fixing the minimum wage in Uganda.
The board had recommended Shs136,000 per month as the lowest pay to any worker, including house maids.
The Ministry, Kiyingi explaine, has been enforcing the various labour laws to ensure workers are not exploited.
“Under this, 298 work places were inspected for Occupational Safety and Health standards as well as conditions and terms of work,” she said.
Kiyingi revealed that the NRM has designed a programme, named Promotion of Green Jobs and Fair Labour Market in Uganda (PROGREL) to reduce levels of unemployment among educated and non-educated youth.
“The programme empowers the youth and women groups in different sectors with the necessary skills, knowledge and modern equipment necessary to compete effectively in the labour market,” she noted.
High unemployment is one of the biggest problems that the NRM government is currently grappling with.
Figures from Uganda Bureau of Statistics of 2012 show that the share of unemployed youth, that’s 18 to 30 years, among the total unemployed persons in the country was 64 per cent.
Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Gender explained that the programme has supported 87 groups in the informal sector.
These are (Jua-Kali) businesses in Mechanical, Metal Fabrication and Welding; Electrical; Woodwork and Carpentry; Art, Design, Leatherworks, Textile & Tailoring; Plumbing & Construction.
Others are Agro processing; Information, Communication and Technology; Automobile Assembling, maintenance and repairs; Cosmetology; and Creative Arts.
The programme, Bigirimana said, also supported 12 Jua-Kali youth and women groups with grants.
Annually, Kiyingi said government trains 170 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), through various vocational skills.
“This is done to enhance their employment opportunities; alongside implementing the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Strategy in all districts for equalization of opportunities for PWDS within their communities,” Kiyingi explained.
A total of Shs3 billion, has been allocated as Special Grant for PWDs.
The Ministry has also strengthened the enforcement of the law on access to buildings, the ministry noted that an average of 50 % of the buildings have complied.
“A total of 1,000 architects and engineers were trained on accessibility standards on facilities for PWDs,” Kiyingi explained.
For cultural institutions, Kiyingi said about 380 land titles were returned to Mengo Government by the central government.
The Gender Ministry also supports 10 Cultural and Traditional leaders to draw development plans, Monitoring & Evaluation and Resource Mobilization tools.
And four intangible Cultural heritages of Acholi, Ik, Alur and Basongora have been documented, said Kiyingi.