The government of Uganda has announced that legally registered companies dealing in recruiting and exporting of workers should resume business with strict observance of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
This was revealed by Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Frank Tumwebaze via his official Twitter handle.
“This is to inform all licenced companies involved in the sourcing of external employment for Ugandan migrant workers, that following the relaxing of a number of COVID lock down measures by Minsitry of Health & resumption of air travel, Ministry of Labour will be lifting the ban (on labour export),” the Minister said.
When asked the categories of workers that will be allowed to leave the country, Tumwebaze said all migrant workers including domestic workers that go through the right channels will be allowed to leave Uganda.
The Minister added that a detailed press statement will be issued in due course by the Ministry.
He thanked sector stakeholders especially Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) for their patience.
This comes after a group of youth led by Joan Namale, who calls herself Charmin of Concerned Citizens, petitioned the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development on Monday over continued closure of labour external externalization sector even when the airport and other sectors have been reopened after the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The petition was received by the Acting Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Gender, James Ebitu on behalf of the Minister.
In their petition, the Group said: “Sir following the closure of external labour export due to closure of the airports following the outbreak of COVID 19, there has been a high rate of unemployment in youths across the country. Hon. Minister sir 90% of the young ladies that go out to work majorly Saudi Arabia are single mothers and uneducated mothers therefore maintaining the business closed even when the international airports re opened with SOPs observed doesn’t not only leave millions of youths unemployed but also a lot of children go hungry and can’t get the basic needs in life.”
The petition adds: “To our surprise as Ugandans who want to go and work abroad through the right channels, hundreds of girls leave Uganda on a daily basis illegally to go and seek external employment.”
The concerned citizens said they strongly condemn the act of promoting Human Trafficking because it happens every day through the board points of Uganda which has not only led to high numbers of people going out illegally, but also leaving them with no job security.
“The purpose of this petition sir is to request your good office to intervene in this situation, issue guidelines to the licensed labour export companies to continue with the business normally. We also request that this matter should be handled with the urgency to protect the Ugandan citizens and also reduce on the high rate of unemployment,” they said.
According to recent statistics, the annual remittances from over 165,000 Ugandan migrant workers in the Middle East alone into the country has grown to over $700m (Shs2.6 trillion) and domestically, the sector has also been contributing direct employment opportunities to over 4,000 Ugandans through the over 200 licensed labor externalizing companies.