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Govt suspends licensing of labour export firms amid fraud allegations

A group of Ugandans at Entebbe International Airport departures heading to the UAE for work. Government has suspended the suspended licensing and registration of new external labour recruitment companies amidst investigation to the staff of the Labour Ministry abusing the process. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Government has suspended licensing and registration of new external labour recruitment companies to pave way for investigations into allegations that staff in the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development are abusing the process.

According to a notice issued by Mr Pius Bigirimana, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, the move is intended to review internal processes and procedures in the management of externalisation 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.

Gender Ministry PS. Mr Pius Bigirimana, has revealed that the move is intended to review internal processes and procedures in the management of externalisation of labour  (PHOTO/File)

The suspension comes amid reports that some ministry officials connive with external labour exporters to illegally clear underaged 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, most such staff suffer abuse and even death in foreign countries.

When contacted on Monday, Mr Bigirimana confirmed the suspension.

“Yes, I have issued that notice and we are 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,” Mr Bigirimana said.

 “We are carrying out what we call internal audit to find out what these people are doing. When we are finished with that, we shall move to the next step,” he added.

Under the Labour Externalisation Policy, the Ministry of Gender has since 2015 moved to regularise the movement of labour, recording about 70,000 Ugandans moving to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Qatar and Afghanistan in search of labour.

However, the number could be much higher given that many other labourers are irregularly recruited. Security agencies estimate that between 20,000 and 30,000 Ugandans travel to work in the Middle East illegally.

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