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Uganda signs labour agreement with Qatar

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The government of Uganda has signed a new bilateral labour agreement with Qatar, Eagle Online has learnt.  The agreement was signed by Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, and Qatar’s Minister of Labour, Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri.

The agreement aims to enhance the strategy of the Ministry of Labour in attracting skilled and qualified labour, bolstering their presence in the local market, and improving the productivity of the private sector, as well as upgrading the work environment.

Under the agreement, the two parties will facilitate the procedures for recruiting skilled labour from Uganda and supply the local market with the required competencies, qualifications, experiences, and specialisations.

This also includes reviewing job opportunities available in Qatar, the skills and experiences required, and the extent to which they are available in Uganda to benefit from them.

Following the signing of the agreement, Amongi said, “I have signed the Bilateral Labour Agreement for skilled, semi-skilled, and domestic workers.” The welfare of workers, health insurance, and terms and conditions of workers are embedded in”.

The minister said a joint technical committee of the two countries will digest the agreement before the recruitment begins.

This is the second bilateral labour agreement Uganda signed after Saudi Arabia in March last year. As of June, last year, there were 235 licensed private recruitment companies. Every two years, each company pays Shs2 million in licence fees. Annually, the government collects $1.3 billion globally from labour export businesses; the Middle East alone sends in $700 million.

Last year, the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, said that during the #Covid-19 pandemic, the country was surviving on remittances. The contribution of remittances amounted to $1.3 billion in 2022, compared to $1.1 billion the previous year.

The government collects $30 (Shs110,000) in job order fees for each eternalized worker. That money is wired directly to the Uganda Revenue Authority accounts. From August 2021 to August 2022, the government collected over Rs12 billion from job orders.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs says they process 10,000 passports every month, and the biggest percentage goes to individuals seeking to work in the Middle East.

According to the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, there are over 150,000 Ugandan migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. Most Ugandans are employed in the informal sector as housemaids, gardeners, cargo handlers, and other jobs.

In 2021, Uganda externalized 89000 Ugandans, of whom 79000 went to Saudi Arabia. Of the 79000, 75000 were female. By June 2022, Uganda had externalized 50,000 nationals, and a high percentage went to Saudi Arabia.

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