Labour exporting companies resumed business after suspension was lifted

The chairman of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) Baker Akantambira says the Ugandan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has run out of resources and funds to handle the distressed cases of migrant workers, leaving a number of them unattended to.

Mr Baker Akantambira, who has been in Saudi Arabia since 18th January looking into matters of the migrant workers and assessing their condition observed that the Embassy is in a dire state and needs urgent government intervention.

According to UAERA, the Ambassador’s rent has since expired and there is no money to renew it, putting the diplomat in total jeopardy.

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Mr Baker says rent for over 47 girls also expired on 31st Dec 2020 and was not renewed and they have resorted to sleeping under the tree outside the Embassy for over two weeks and at their offices in Saudi Arabia.

He adds that two of the girls became depressed and have run mad due to sponsors abuses and lack of medical attention. The medical bills have also accumulated and now the embassy has no credit facility not even health assurance.

The situation is so bad that the embassy staff have resorted to pulling their own personal resources to send critical cases to hospital.

The embassy is now asking for funds to help them handle these workers and UAERA has suggested to local companies each 300 dollars for fixing issues there.

Currently there are 200 companies in Labour Export business and the booming business brings in approximately 200 Million US Dollars revenue to the country.

UAERA is an association that brings together all legally registered labour externalisation firms.

However, a number of labour recruiting companies under their umbrella body are not willing to fund the embassy, saying Government benefits more from foreign remittances and therefore should fully fund the embassy.

“Following our resolution at the members GM that each company advances at least US$300 for fixing a few things in Saudi….I took courage and travelled here expecting that you (members) would have paid by now!” he said.

Baker says that together with the embassy, they calculated the immediate things to fix and they need at least USD 50,000. Short of that, the Ambassador has already written to Min of Gender, Labour and Social Development to close this business until funds are availed to them.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has also gone mute on the issue.

Mr Baker requested all who care about the labour exporting business to come out and take action.