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46,000 Ugandans recruited to work abroad

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th February 2015 06:59 PM

CLOSE to 46,000 Ugandans have benefited from the programme of externalisation of labour, MPs have heard.

46,000 Ugandans recruited to work abroad

CLOSE to 46,000 Ugandans have benefited from the programme of externalisation of labour, MPs have heard.


By Joyce Namutebi   
         
CLOSE to 46,000 Ugandans have benefited from the programme of externalisation of labour, MPs have heard.  


The Principal Labour Officer (Research and Statistics) in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Milton Turyasiima was meeting a team from Uganda Women Parliamentary Association.

MPs namely Mary Marion Tuunde (workers), Mariam Nalubega (Butambala), Olivia Kwagala (Iganga) and Grace Namara (Lyantonde) had gone to the Ministry on Monday to track implementation of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009.

Turyasiima explained that the programme was initiated by the government in 2005 to reduce on the unemployment pressure in the country. “Since the first deployment in 2006 close to 46,000 people have benefited from the programme,” he said.

The destinations for migrant workers, he said, include Somalia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Afaghanistan.
He revealed that the migrant workers remit about US$2m to Uganda every year.

The MPs were interested in knowing which companies have been licensed by government to recruit Ugandans to work abroad, how Ugandans in distress are assisted, whether there are companies whose licenses had been revoked and the relationship between the ministry and these companies, among others.

They also visited International Employment Linkages (U) Limited in Ntinda, one of the licensed companies, over issues to do with export of labour.

Turyasiima released to the MPs a list of 25 private companies that have been licensed to recruit Ugandans to work abroad as of February 10, 2015.      
 
They include 2Niles Public relations Agency Limited, the Gideon’s Men Ltd, Normandy Company Uganda Ltd, J.A.G. Security Group Limited, Saracen (U) Limited, Security Link Limited, Ham Property Services and Management Limited, Mix Link Agency Limited, Maghrib Agencies Limited and Tirajo Employment Agency Limited.

There has been general outcry about trafficking of mainly women to various parts of the country, where they are sexually exploited and abused.  

Last year, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, told the Government to ban the export of domestic workers, following complaints of torture, but labour state minister  Mwesigwa Rukutana  informed the House that the ban on export of domestic workers is difficult to implement.

The parliamentary committee of equal opportunities and that of gender travelled to Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, China and Kuwait to investigate alleged abuse and mistreatment of Ugandan migrant workers.

The chairperson of the equal opportunities committee, Anifa Kawooya, said the girls are mostly trafficked to do non-formal labour.

She said they had recommended immediate suspension of the companies that export labour to pave way for investigations.

The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009, criminalizes recruiting, hiring, confining, transporting, transferring or receiving a person for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, involuntary servitude and forced or arranged marriage.

Turyasiima said that problems stem from individuals going to work abroad on their own, or those recruited by their friends and unlicensed companies. He also expressed concern that some countries lack laws on trafficking in persons. “Bilateral agreements are the best way to protect our people,” he said adding that they are they are in the processing of coming up with bilateral agreements with Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

 He advised Ugandans wanting to go and work abroad to look for the licensed companies.

The Managing Director International Employment Linkages (U) Limited, Lilian Keene-Mugerwa appealed to government to provide loans to people wanting to work abroad saying that most eligible people cannot go due to lack of funds.

Without naming any, she said that some companies had mastered the art of conning Ugandans.  

 

46,000 Ugandans recruited to work abroad

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