KAMPALA, Uganda: Citing gross mismanagement reportedly by top leadership at the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), the Umbrella of individual companies in labour export, some members mounted pressure onto the administration for accountability but with vivid minimal and or no success for quite a period.
Left with no option, the Investigator established, a reasonable number of member companies recently resolved to walk away in a parallel direction to create a new one successfully named Uganda Federation of Foreign Recruitment Agencies (UFFRA), with attractive accountability proposals that might see UAERA, land onto ground like a pack of playing cards.
In the recent past, individual labour export companies have exceptionally suffered negative publicity resulting from impatient employment seekers claiming loss of funds. “Many have faced the unwarranted humiliation by Col. Edith Nakalema [head State House Anticorruption Unit]’s wrath through the media,” said one of the new faction members.
At the height of the negative media, members pressurized the Association to stand firm and protect them by explaining to public the formalities through which jobs are sought but in vain. Fake companies found their way into the industry, hence spoiling its image but with little or no effort by the Association to cramp down on them.
Whereas such management glitches were not bad enough, members also cite finances mishandling by the Association. It has reportedly taken years since they last heard of the treasurer’s report, even with them promptly and fully paying their subscription fees. “We were as good as orphans, every company handling their challenges with no feel of belonging to the organization,” the source offered last night.
Barely two weeks into its inception, UFFRA leaders recently sought out Gen. Salim Saleh at his Kapeeka residence and handed him a report on their sector’s challenges, opportunities and prospects. Convinced, Gen. Saleh not only blessed but also recommended them to the First Citizen, the President.
Indeed, at the Patriotism Clubs’ fete at Kololo Airstrip on Saturday, the group was introduced to, and had a word with the President. Led by their interim Chair Ms. Carol Baine the Federation successfully requested for an appointment with the Principal. “The President tasked his Principal Personal Assistant (PPA) Molly Kamukama to place the appointment soonest,” offered the source.
Among the UFFRA proposals which could have attracted Gen Saleh and his big brother the President, is the provision of a Government Youths revolving fund which could be channeled through the association to help the young people who would wish to work abroad but without money to facilitate their dreams. They propose that the Youth Fund can extend them soft loans which they could pay back upon earning from their jobs abroad.
Government Okays development
Speaking at the aforementioned Kololo function mainly attended by the youth, President Museveni commended the externalization of labour efforts by agencies, saying the current labour vacuum in North America, larger Europe and Middle East provides an opportunity for Uganda’s youth unemployment problem. “Uganda has a total population of approximate 42,000,000 and the public sector can only employ up to only 480,000 Ugandans while the rest can only be employed in the private sector,” observed the President.
The UFFRA Chairlady Baine has since said that the current unemployment surge of the Ugandan youth can also be solved by the labour externalization programme through the Ministry of Gender labour and social development. Baine noted that more than 800,000 Ugandans are currently working in the diaspora and directly improving the lives of their dependents and families back home.
Speaking to the Investigator last night, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Spokesman Frank Mugabi confirmed knowledge of UFFRA but not yet officially. He however said the Ministry welcomes any Association so long as their focus is on streamlining the industry. “The minister has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with many countries and still doing the same with others. Our concern is that any association in the industry performs our obligation to the letter. Ours is to regulate them, no matter how many in number,” he said.
The Investigator learnt that until the formation of UFFRA, UAERA had a membership of 140, a number that has been inevitably affected by the former’s creation by 80 members, leaving the latter standing at only 70. As to why the situation came to this is a story of another day, for efforts to reach out to UAERA administration Chairman Andrew Kameraho were futile as his known number wasn’t going through.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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