KAMPALA — Government has tasked stakeholders in labour exporting sector to join efforts and work towards improving the welfare and protection of rights of the Ugandan migrant workers abroad.
While presiding over the closing ceremony of a three day retreat organised by the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), an umbrella association of all certified labour firms, Minister of State for Gender, Charles Engola Mac-Odwongo Okello said the Ministry is committed to working with all stakeholders to find workable solutions to better labour externalization in the country.
“We should all come together and work out a monitoring system that will be used to monitor all migrant workers abroad, this will do much in reducing on the cases of human right violations against Ugandans,” Engola said.
Engola promised to look into the issues raised by UAERA members which included; the recent arrest of some of their members, delay in clearance of job orders, delays in the issuance of visas among others.
The retreat whose theme was “Retreat, Review, Recharge” and held in Jonah was attended by over 100 recruitment companies with a number of dignitaries including; the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Amb. Abbey Walusimbi, the Workers’ Member of Parliament (MP), Christopher Peter Werikhe, Gogonyo County MP, Derrick Orone among others.
On his part, Amb. Abbey Walusimbi said that government is concerned with the increasing cases of human rights violation against Ugandan migrant workers.
He pledged to do every thing possible to have these issues addressed.
“My attention has been drawn to the fact that you are gathered to discuss improvement of such issues and for this I commend you for the move which we hope will yield better results. We should all work together towards finding lasting solutions,” Amb. Walusimbi said.
Walusimbi thus called for scrutiny of the recruitment companies and adequate training of migrant workers especially the house maids before they depart for work abroad.
“There are several allegations against you owners of companies that you present fake job orders for clearance and this has been evident in the increased number of Ugandans who are stuck at your offices abroad and in ware houses with nowhere to work. We must not allow this to continue and it must stop with immediate effect,” Walusimbi said.
Walusimbi tasked UAERA members to come out and expose the bad players within the sector— warning that the more they hide the wrong doers, the more the entire sector loses out.
Baker Akantambira, the UAERA Chairperson said that a number of challenges that companies are still facing in the execution of their services to Ugandans which needs urgent attention from government.
He condemned the ‘unwarranted’ arrest of five of their members who he said had fulfilled all their responsibilities as enshrined within the regulations.
“We are still waiting for a Joint Technical Committee and we request that by default, UAERA should be represented on the committee of the government of Uganda,” Akantambira suggested.
He revealed that UAERA members have resolved to among others set up an internal monitoring framework through self-discipline, self-regulation and a robust monitoring system to ensure migrant workers’ welfare are taken care of.