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Govt abdicating its role in external labor recruitment –Gender committee

Ugandas Gender Minister Janat Mukwaya signs a pact on behalf of Uganda with Saudi Arabia on Export of Labour

Kampala, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Gender, Labor and Social Development committee of parliament has faulted government for surrendering its obligations to monitor the safety of migrant workers to private entities. This is contained in the report produced by the Committee chaired by Alex Ndeezi that scrutinized the status of the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies monitoring fund.

The investigations stemmed from a motion tabled by the Western Youth MP, Mwine Mpaka, in which he accused recruitment firms of charging immigrant Ugandans laborer US$ 70 each that would end up into private and Government hands in an irregular manner through Yassin Abdulaziz Musoke, an employee at the Ugandan based United Arabs Emirates consulate.

According to Ndeezi, during their investigations, the Gender and Labor Development Ministry declined to take responsibility for the fraud, claiming that it is a private fund of about Shillings 30 billion. He also said the Ministry shied away from taking responsibility for the safety of monitoring the safety of the immigrant workers.

He observed that this left the Association of External Recruitment Agency (UAERA), which unites all licensed Labour-recruiting agencies to run the business and set the pace among other things. Ndeezi noted that the major worry of the committee is that Shillings 30 billion is channeled to Yasin without any legal framework or justification.

He however, said the committee was unable to speak to Yassin and Ambassador Ahmed Ssenyomo, who is believed to have appointed him, saying there is need for the committee to interact with the duo to get their side of the story. According to the committee, the 7 days given to them to investigate the matter were inadequate, saying they need more than one month.

“The Committee therefore recommends that it be accorded more time to conclude the investigation into the operations and management of the monitoring fund within one month. The Committee will, within this period, generate recommendations for better management of this fund in a manner that holds the executive accountable for the fund and welfare of Ugandan migrant domestic workers abroad,” the report by Ndeezi reads.

The Committee also says they couldn’t suspend the labor-externalization fund without putting in place clear mechanisms and systems to address the gaps identified as several adverse and unintended consequences may arise such as human trafficking and uncertainty over the safety of migrant workers already externalized under the current system.

According to the Gender Ministry, there are 83,000 Ugandan workers in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arabs Emirates, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan among others. About US$ 600 million is remitted by the immigrant workers annually.

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