KAMPALA, Uganda The export of Uganda labor abroad is taking a new twist, The Investigator can reveal. Gone are the days when all the talk about working abroad was all about doing odd and casual laborious jobs. The latest we can reveal is that Middle East Consultants (MEC), the Muyenga based firm that recruits Ugandans for jobs abroad, apart from taking thousands of Ugandan youths to the Middle East, are now shifting their skills and expertise in recruiting Ugandan professionals for foreign jobs.
The Middle East Consultant Chief Executive Officer Gordon Mugyenyi revealed to The Investigator in an interview at their Muyenga offices on Tuesday that the target for this year (2017) is 3,000 jobs for Ugandan young ladies and men in Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi.
‘Our main concern is to help as many jobless Ugandan youths get jobs and live a happy life,” he said. Adding “but we are now shifting to professionals as well starting this year.”
Keitongo Fred, one of the directors of Middle East Consultants said they had so far identified 577 medics including nurses and doctors who are heading for lucrative paying jobs in Libya.
Keitongo, one of the three founding directors of MEC said the nurses will be paid Ugx 3.6 million per month compared to the paltry shs600,000 they are earning in Uganda. “The doctors will be paid shs7 million monthly much higher that what government is paying them here in Uganda,” explained Keitongo. He said unlike the cleaners, security guards, hoteliers and other casual labors who are charged between USD$ 1000 (Shs3.6m) to $ 1700 (6m) for jobs in the Middle East, the professional will not pay any fee but will also be entitled to a free air ticket to Tripoli, Libya.
Asked if the recruitment of medics for foreign jobs wouldn’t get the wrath of government given the inadequate demand for nurses and doctors, Keitongo said; “we have had discussions with the various government bodies and agencies and agreed. So we are cleared to take the 577. Next week we are leaving for Libya for final talks before the first batch can fly out.”
He said since 2013 when they came up with Middle East Consultants, they have so far taken over 10,000 Ugandans for jobs abroad.
He explained that the costs requested for is to cater for medical examinations, air ticket, visa processing and handling as well security vetting and Interpol letters of clearance among others.
Keitongo revealed that MEC had done enough to create awareness regarding the importance of going abroad for lucrative jobs. “We have had sessions in Mbale, Fort Portal, Mbarara, Kitgum, Arua and various places across the country,” he said.
Asked to comment why most of the recruits are from Western Uganda districts, Keitongo said the ‘westerners’, unlike other Ugandans are entrepreneurs. “You find a youth in Kabale, Ntungamo, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Isingiro, Kanungu or Rukungiri with his acre of matooke and about three to four cows that give him 20-40 liters of milk a day,” he said.
Adding; “so when we ask for say $1,000 (shs3.6M), the youth from those districts will either sell two cows or cut down 200 bunches of matooke and sells them at between shs15,000 to 20,000 enough to meet what is required.” This is not the case in Soroti for example where even raising the mandatory registration and medical fee of shs210,00 is a tug of war.
He however said that much as more recruits are from western Uganda as perceived, central region tops the pack. ‘But if you think we don’t handle people from other districts just call Kitgum Woman MP (Beatrice Anywar) or the speaker of Parliament (Hon Rebecca Kadaga) and ask how many people we have helped from their areas.
He said as Middle East Consultants, they at times also have to support scores of vulnerable Ugandan youth who can’t afford to meet the required costs needed for visas and air-tickets.
“We help the very poor and also used to help on a loan basis though we stopped after some people abused the help. In fact as we talk we have spent over and are demanding shs75m out there,” said Keitongo.