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Uganda halts registration of labour companies

By  Araphat Yawe.

Uganda cabinet has halted registration of new labour export companies in until GLSD Ministry provides a report on the measures being taken to enforce  safety and protection of migrant workers.

Gender, Labour and Social Development, Minister Hon. Betty Amongi told Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) conference this month at Africana in Kampala.

 She said the report on streamlining the labour export industry, which she presented to a recent Cabinet meeting chaired by President Museveni, was rejected on grounds that it left out pertinent issues.  

“.We debated the issue of externalization of labour  and registration of labour companies for about three hours.Cabinet directed that I go back and prepare  a more comprehensive report on the measures that  labour companies are taking to address complaints from all Ugandans working abroad,” She said.

The Minister disclosed that some Cabinet Ministers who are irked by endless complaints, proposed banning Uganda labour export .

“ She said  some top government officials proposed that the country puts on hold and resorts to measures that will ensure  the workers are safe.

 “We have closed the system and we are  waiting for discussions with Cabinet. I shall need views from other stakeholders including externalization of labour companies,” She said.

The Minister is compiling a report   that she is expected  to present to  Cabinet as a government working document.

Ms Amongi said among concerns raised during the Cabinet meeting include lack of a clear arrangement in handling workers’ afflictions , safety and protection in homes, impediments in acquiring exit visas after their contracts have expired.

Government is working around the clock to ensure  that Ugandan migrant workers have their rights safeguarded..

Hon Amongi stated that the issue of body organ harvesting was discussed extensively during the Cabinet discussion. “We believe that organs are being harvested extensively  from some migrant workers,” She said.

 According to Hon Amongi there is a total of 276 firms  that are licensed to export labour from Uganda.

But now Uganda cabinent is complaining that the compnies licensed to export labour are too many and need to be reduced.

The Minister revealed that despite the mishaps and controversies  externalization of labour is contributing significantly  to Uganda’s revenue  inflows.

“Between 2020 and 2021, remittances from migrant workers intp the country stood at $900 million compared to coffee exports that fetched $559m during the same period.

Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA)  President Mr Baker Akatambira, made assurances to protect the rights of Ugandan migrant workers He said:” Government should always intervene on the plight of migrant workers  by enforcing laws against  breachin,” he said.

In 2019, government suspended licensing new labour export companies in bid  to address challenges faced in the sector.  Government introduced a number of  measures, including bringing into effect the Employment (Recruitment of Ugandan Migrant Workers) Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 47 of 2021.

The statutory instrument, among others, provides for verification of  employment orders, licensing foreign recruitment agencies ■

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