By Amon Baita
Middle East Consultants Ltd Managing Director, Gordon Mugyenyi has predicted a shining future for unemployed educated Ugandans in the next five years if Saudi Arabia fully opens doors of its huge job market to Uganda’s professional labour force following a bilateral agreement signed by governments of these two countries recently.
Middle East Consultants Ltd is Uganda’s leading licensed labour exporting agency.
In an exclusive interview with Business Focus at his Muyenga based office, Mugyenyi revealed that professional Ugandans have a reason to get excited at the newly created opportunities in Saudi Arabia by Uganda’s government that is likely to see over 50,000 Ugandans get jobs in Saudi Arabia in the next five years.
“Basing on the fact that Saudi Arabia’s policy of free visas and free air tickets and the fact that Saudi has one of the biggest employment markets in the world makes this partnership with Ugandan government a blessing to our unemployed professionals,’’ Mugyenyi noted, adding that Saudi Arabia’s remunerations and work privileges are also far better and ranked in the first Class for professionals.
Mugyenyi encouraged young educated Ugandans to rush to registered companies and register as they wait to grab fresh opportunities, but should take caution of conmen and illegal recruiters in the city.
‘’In Uganda, there are 84 registered companies and in case each company takes 1,000 people in a year that means a lot in as far as reduction of unemployment levels are concerned and in the next five years unemployment would have reduced drastically,’’ Mugyenyi said, adding that he has already secured two orders to supply 2000 people to work as civil engineers (Construction) in Saudi Arabia.
He says this is enough evidence that Uganda has penetrated Saudi Arabia‘s vast job industry which he attributes to the tireless efforts of Labour Minister Janat Mukwaya to end unemployment catastrophe in the country.
Many Ugandans Get Jobs Abroad
Asked about his Company’s last year’s notable achievements, Mugyenyi was quick to say he is proud that his company was able to send over 6,700 Ugandans to work in the UAE, Qatar and a few hotel workers to Iraq of which many are boys because girls tend to be indiscipline and deported because they go with intentions of hooking up with ‘Bazungu’ and don’t concentrate on their jobs, but instead resort to weird behaviours like theft and prostitution.
He added that many Ugandans that went are working in the security guard section and general cleaning since cleaning jobs don’t require much education as long as they are able to speak English, while security is mostly about one’s height especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
He revealed that cleaners earn Shs1m while security guards earn between Shs2m-Shs3.5m depending on which country one goes to.
Middle East Consultants Spreads wings
When asked about the New Year prospects, Mugyenyi said that the company’s plan for 2018 is to start sending Ugandans to both Kuwait and Malaysia in addition to UAE countries.
“We are heading to Malaysia this year to exploit their hugely developed industries of leisure and hospitality where we shall be recruiting hoteliers very soon as well as factory workers,’’ Mugyenyi revealed, adding that Uganda’s government is soon signing another bilateral agreement with the Republic of Kuwait .
He said both Malaysia and Kuwait have only been importing labour from Asian countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, but are currently in talks with Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies.
On human trafficking, Mugyenyi said the levels have greatly reduced due to various measures put up by all stakeholders with the help of relevant ministries like Labour and anti human trafficking desk at Ministry of internal affairs headed by Moses Binoga. He however admitted that human trafficking is still a challenge to the industry.
“Our association leaders meet with the airport officials monthly and review situation on the ground and border posts have also been closely monitored by Immigration Office whereby they have been able to capture and bring back over 100 passports from Uganda –Kenyan borders daily,” Mugyenyi said, attributing this to unrelenting efforts put up by Minister Janat Mukwaya.
On the side of challenges affecting the industry, Mugyenyi said that their biggest challenge was coming from parents and guardians who are left behind as next of Kins, but misuse the candidate’s funds when they are sent money to put up projects for them.
He said at the end of a two-year contract, some are shocked to find nothing on their return yet they have been sending money back home.
He said many lose morale to go back.
He also named cultural attacks/demonds (Ebyekyika) as another challenge since many of their candidates have been attacked after reporting at work and end up being deported back hence making them( agencies) lose a lot of money that has been invested in them before they left the country.
Mugyenyi also pointed out the need to sensitize Ugandans about external labour since many Ugandans still think that it’s modern enslavement yet Uganda is the latest country to join this industry as many countries in Asia, West Africa have over the years been involved and have hugely benefited from exportation of labour overseas.
Affordable To Get A Job
About the complaints from the general public that the process of going out for a job is costly and there are common delays, Mugyenyi said some jobs are cheaper and free while others are a little costly since the recruiting companies also buy those job orders from agencies in the UAE and many times also candidates have to pay for their visas and air tickets.
The labour exporting guru also revealed that recruiting agencies submitted a proposal to government so that a percentage of Youth Livelihood Funds be channelled to labour recruiting agencies so that it can help facilitate the process for those who are willing to go for jobs abroad, but are financially unable and ministry of labour should always monitor and verify suitable beneficiaries.
He attributed delays to many factors like processing visas of big numbers of people from various recruiting agencies by the same embassy as well as different security verifications and attestations of candidate’s documents.
Mugyenyi also noted that some people are impatient because some of them come when they are running away from problems like bank loans, crimes and tend to think they will go immediately once they pay and get registered forgetting that recruiting companies don’t issue Visas and everybody must go through the due process.
He appealed to them to always be patient since their jobs are guaranteed once they register with the company.
Libya a No Go Area!
Mugyenyi concluded by revealing to us that recruitment of Ugandans to work in Libya was rejected by the Government of Uganda since Libya currently has two governments; one Tripoli and Benghazi, thus Uganda was not sure of who would be contacted in case of any complaint from Ugandans working there.