Labour exporting companies close shop in Uganda

Labour exporting companies have reportedly closed business in Uganda over their continuous suspension imposed by the Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development. The suspension is alluded to continuous externalization of domestic workers.

Recently, the Gender ministry suspended the externalization of labour for various Arabian countries over violations of human rights of Ugandan workers working abroad. And last month the gender ministry wrote to its counterparts in health seeking the feasibility of reopening for labour exporting companies in line with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place and other authorities in their respective destination countries.

“The slight delay of reopening for externalization of domestic workers is because, government would like to put in place additional measures aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of domestic workers abroad,” Labour ministry revealed in a statement.

According to Baker Akantabira, the chairperson of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), the prolonged suspension of labour export has increased human trafficking in the country since over 150 people have been intercepted at the airport.

He said where the licenses are issued to general categories, the dynamics in the market play a pivotal role and therefore companies can only engage in externalizing domestic workers. “The proposed reopening in phases is as good as extending suspension,” he added.

Since the closure of Entebbe  International Airport, labour exporting companies have closed shops, suspended operations due to rent, salary arrears and other operating costs. The licenced companies have spent part of the year without working and hence affecting over 4,000 workers.