On Wednesday 17th February 2021, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana, State Minister of Labour presented a statement on the status of implementation of the directives issued by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to labour recruitment companies to facilitate the repatriation of Ugandans stranded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Minister told parliament chaired by Rht. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga that there was already compliance of the labour recruitment agencies to the directive and he also noted that there had been delays with the airlines which were supposed to repatriate stranded Ugandans.
Issues raised by parliament include;
The cunning nature of some of the labour recruitment companies who advertise attractive terms of payment, decent working conditions among others which is the opposite in reality.
Reluctance of government to manage the issue because of some influential government officials owning the agencies and recruitment firms engaged in the trade of persons.
Members of the house recommendations
Government should enter into Memorandum of Understanding with all countries that benefit from Ugandan exported labour to create sanity in the labour export sector.
Government should take a keen interest in the agreements between the labour recruitment companies and the Ugandans who go to work abroad to be able to deal with issues to do with exploitation of Ugandans.
Rukutana refuted claims that most of the agencies recruiting Ugandans to work abroad are owned by government senior officials. He, however, acknowledged that there have been cases of human trafficking of Ugandans and gross breach of contracts which the ministry has endeavored to manage as they arise.
The minister reiterated government commitment to ensure the safety of its Nationals and better management of labour export. He appealed to Parliament for more funding which he said is key towards addressing the said concerns.
“It is well known that for any export to be gainful to any country, it must not be raw, it should be processed and of high quality. Therefore, there is need to skill Ugandans before they go to work abroad.” Said Rukutana.
The Speaker appealed to the government to accept that there are not enough jobs in Uganda, and take up labour exportation as one of its mandate.
She added that many Ugandans continue to suffer at the hands of individuals and some improper labour recruitment companies.