KAMPALA – Despite the public outcry to ban the externalization of labour in the Arab nations, Government declined to heed to the call arguing that labour export is good for Uganda’s economy.
The revelation was made by Hon Peace Mutunzo, the Minister of State for Gender in a statement made before Parliament following numerous reports of sexual abuse and exploitation by some girls that have left the country in search of greener pastures abroad.
Hon Mutunzo told the lawmakers that the ban on externalization of labour would instead lay fertile ground for trafficking in humans saying that whereas the Ministry does not clear workers to Oman, there are over 40,000 Ugandans working in Oman.
“The ministry is therefore hesitant to impose a ban. This is because there are still strong pull factors like relatively higher wages in the Middle East. Furthermore, the migrant workers in the Middle East are contributing substantially to their families through construction of houses and paying of school fees. Migrant workers in the Middle East send home about 600 million dollars which accounts for about 50 percent of total in-word remittances in Uganda.” The Minister said.
On the other hand, the Minister admitted that the sector is riddled with a number of challenges like traffickers who often through false representation deploy workers into unknown destinations and hostile working conditions, inability to trace and offer consular services to migrant workers deployed by traffickers, Violation of the rights of workers especially domestic employees like house maids.
The government also blamed the abuse wreaked upon Ugandans on their immoral behaviour.
Hon Mutunzo argued that the conduct of some Ugandan employees abroad has often occasioned domestic violence because some of them abscond from their stations in pursuit of other jobs.
She said the Externalization Unit has only five full-time staff and lacks appropriate office accommodation as well as lack of diplomatic representation in Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman; and limited manpower of the Ugandan Missions in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.