RIYADH — Workers at Ugandan embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia say the embassy faces closure due to a failure to pay rent.
It has emerged that embassy in Saudi Arabia was closed on Monday 18 over financial difficulties.
The development was also confirmed by Mr. Baker Akantambira, the Chairman of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) an umbrella association of labour externalisation firms in Uganda.
Mr. Akantambira who travelled to Saudi Arabia to assess the condition of migrant workers in one of the messages seen by PML Daily indicated that: “the situation is so bad that our embassy staff have resorted to pulling their own personal resources to send critical cases to hospital”.
He added: the job and order processing system is down for lack of money to renew license and servicing. No job order can be processed.”
In another message sent to all registered firms, Mr. Akantambira informs them that: The Ugandan Embassy at Saudi [Arabia] is out of resources to handle distressed cases of Migrant workers. …Some girls have been sleeping under the tree outside the embassy for over two weeks and their offices here in Saudi and in Uganda aren’t responsive”.
Apparently, Ambassador Isaac Ssebulime has reportedly already written to Ministry of Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) to close labor externalization to Saudi Arabia until government is able to fund it again.
We couldn’t independently verify this claim as a spokesperson of the Ministry didn’t respond to our request for a comment.
UAERA says there are more than 165,000 Ugandans- growing at an average rate of 5,000 monthly, in
the Middle East with annual remittances of more than USD700 million (UGX2.8 trillion.)
This is just about 50% of the estimated USD1.4 billion in total remittances by all Ugandans abroad.
The sector also directly employs more than 4,000 Ugandans locally and also pays another UGX25 billion annually to service providers and government agencies for services such as passports, Interpol charges, bank charges, vaccination, COV1D-19 PCR certificate fee among others.
Put together, labor externalization fetches almost twice more than Uganda’s coffee export earnings.