KAMPALA — Amb. Abbey Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs has met and held talks with H.E Bader Alsaqya the Head of Consular Services at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The meeting also attended by other diplomats aimed at ironing out persistent challenges associated with labour externalization to the foreign country.
Kampala and Riyadh cooperate on a number of sectors, and the Arab nation hosts the highest number of Ugandans under the labor export program in the Middle East.
In 2021 alone, 75,873 Ugandans went to Saudi Arabia.
In the past three years, the government has introduced a number of initiatives to plug the gaps affecting the sector, including bringing into effect the Employment (Recruitment of Ugandan Migrant Workers) Regulations, 2021 Statutory Instrument No. 47 of 2021 on August 13.
It among others provides for verification of all job orders, accreditation of all foreign recruitment agencies and prohibits non-Ugandans from owning external recruitment agencies.
The latest bilateral agreements, officials said are aimed at streamlining the operations of the labour externalization sector with focus on fighting against trafficking and violation of workers’ rights.
President Museveni recently assigned his adviser on Diaspora Affairs to intervene in finding out solutions and advising government on the best way forward.
The Office of the President through Amb. Walusimbi has since held several stakeholders’ meetings including visiting a number of recruitment companies.
“As part of the ongoing solution finding exercise towards verification of the Labour externalization processes, I have paid a courtesy call on the Consular to best understand the challenges faced by our counterparts,” Amb. Walusimbi said.
During the meeting, the Consular appreciated the good working relationship between Uganda and Saudi Arabia promising to work hand in hand to ensure the streamlining of the labour externalization sector.
Riyadh diplomats expressed great concern about the delays involved in the inspection and approval procedures of Uganda labour companies which has resulted in immense cancelation of potential contracts and as such, a number of the big Arab firms have diverted contracts to other countries in the East African region.
He appealed to the office of the President for a rapid intervention framework to solve this crisis as well as allegations of torture on both sides.
Amb Walusimbi greatly appreciated the team for the warm reception and openness during the discussions.
He assured them that it’s not the intention of government to detract trade through delays and that His Excellency the President will intervene to expedite the process further to ensure efficiency and effectiveness for economic growth.