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Chinese paying Ugandans sh3,000 daily

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th April 2015 01:44 PM

Works and Transport minister, John Byabagambi, has written to the ministries of labour and internal affairs calling for a meeting to discuss complaints of poor pay of Ugandans by Chinese companies in the country.

Chinese paying Ugandans sh3,000 daily

Works and Transport minister, John Byabagambi, has written to the ministries of labour and internal affairs calling for a meeting to discuss complaints of poor pay of Ugandans by Chinese companies in the country.

By David Lumu

Works and Transport minister, John Byabagambi, has written to the ministries of labour and internal affairs calling for a meeting to discuss complaints of poor pay of Ugandans by Chinese companies in the country.


An outraged Byabagambi said that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss with all Chinese companies ways through which the remuneration of Ugandan employees in their companies can be improved, especially casual laborers.  The meeting will take place on May 4.

Byabagambi was reacting to concerns from Elijah Madoi, the deputy resident district commissioner (RDC), who said that Ugandans working as casual laborers on Musita-Mayuge-Lumino-Majanji-Busia road are paid sh3, 000 per day by Chinese.

Madoi said the payment translates to sh90, 000 per month, an amount said is not worth the labor offered.

“Hon. ministers, these workers are grumbling and you need to do something about it,” he said.

Byabagambi, who was speaking during a workshop at Hotel Africana that was organized by his ministry on the implementation of the proposed construction of the Standard Gauge Railway, said that the issue of low pay will be solved.

“It is true that Ugandan casual workers are paid little money by the Chinese companies. Other companies from Europe pay a higher wage. I have already written to concerned ministries calling for a meeting to discuss possibilities of how these Chinese companies can improve the pay from sh3, 000 per day to a better figure,” he said.

“I know that the Chinese rate is slightly lower than that of other companies from Europe. But we are going to discuss with all the Chinese companies and resolve this before the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway starts,” he said.

SGR work to start in May

On March 30, President Yoweri Museveni led a team of Ugandan officials who signed a contract with the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) in Beijing for the construction of the Eastern (Malaba-Kampala) and Northern (Kampala-Kasese) Standard Gauge Railway.

Uganda will borrow $13.8b (sh38.5 trillion) from the Exim Bank of China to construct the railway, which Byabagambi said is estimated to create 150, 000 jobs.

These Ugandans (mainly engineers drawn from the UPDF engineering brigade) will be working with the contractor CHEC, and there are already calls that their remuneration should be decent.

Byabagambi said that $3.3b has already been secured for the first phase of the construction of the standard gauge railway.

Outlining the timeline for the railway project, Eng. Kasingye-Kyamugambi from the Ministry of Works and Transport said that works on the Standard Gauge Railway will start in May. The deadline for completion is March 2018.

“The estimates of land we need for the project is 17720 hectares and the process of compensation and land acquisition is staring in June,” he said.

Kasingye-Kyamugambi said that the completion of the Standard Gauge Railway will reduce freight and cargo travel delays from 10-14 days from Mombasa to Kampala to one day, and that by 2040, Uganda will be getting $118b (sh35.4 trillion) per year from the railway.

“Currently we make losses of $1.2b (sh3 trillion) per year in transport costs of exports. Our roads are also stressed or wear and tear due to huge cargo freight transportation by vehicles. The Standard Gauge Railway will reduce this cost,” he said.

The deputy speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah welcomed the project and thanked China and President Yoweri Museveni for embracing the development of the project, which he said, is going to change the face of Uganda and the East African region.

Governments of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects regional initiative, agreed to upgrade the railway network in the region to standard gauge.

Byabagambi said that on May 9, he will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to discuss possibilities of Kinshasa joining the corridor projects.
 

Chinese pay Ugandans sh3,000 daily

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