The Government of Uganda Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Arab Emirates to improve the working conditions in the Middle East Country.
Gender and Labour Minister Hajat Janat B Mukwaya led a delegation from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and officials from Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agency (UAERA) to reach the understanding with UEA officials.
After signing the MoU, Mukwaya said that the government is working to solve the issue of exploitation by labour recruitment agencies in Uganda.
“In order to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration (of Ugandans) to the UAE, we exchanged a number of versions of this MoU on labour matters. I am very happy that we have a text that reflects our mutual expectations,” Mukwaya said.
‘’One sticking point has been the role of the middlemen who end up taking a huge share of the recruitment and placement costs. For us in Uganda, we look forward to a situation where such charges are eliminated for all categories of workers,’’ the Minister added
She elaborated that this MoU also provides for established formal structures through which any grievances can amicably be handled.
The government also called for a joint committee within 3 months to do a follow up on the articles in the MoU. The committee is expected to make periodic reviews and assessments, evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the articles in the MoU.
UAE’s Minister of Human Resources, Nasser Bin Than Al Hamli said that his government managed to achieve a very important milestone by signing the MoU with Uganda.
Other provisions of the MoU include:
Designing and delivering pre-departure and post-arrival worker and employer orientation programs on relevant laws and regulations, responsibility of host country to promote rights of Ugandan workers as well ensuring their welfare and dignity amongst others.
It is the responsibility of Government of Uganda to ensure that workers are aware of the terms and conditions of their contract prior to departure and also ensure necessary support for the Ugandans in the host country.
The responsibilities of the UAE Government include: promotion of the rights of Ugandan workers in the UAE; ensure that the welfare of workers and their human rights and dignity in the UAE are promoted and protected in accordance with the applicable laws of the UAE.
According to the sources from Gender Ministry, UAE hosts the highest number of Uganda workers in the Middle East, with over 40,000 who have been recruited through official and legal channels.
Government receives about US$600M (Shs2.2 trillion) annually from the money remitted from UAE.
By Aloysious Kasoma