By Amon Baita
KAMPALA, Uganda: The Uganda externalization sector through their newly formed Association of Uganda Federation of Foreign Recruitment Agencies (UFFRA) could be headed for greater things after the sector was forwarded to the President for funding.
This happened last Saturday during Patriotism club celebrations held at Kololo Independence Grounds. During the event, the MC was seen presenting a group of UFFRA leadership headed by their Chairperson, Caroline Beinamaryo to the President.
President Yoweri Museveni tasked his Personal Assistant to consider them for a meeting with him as soon as possible. It is understood that the Association leadership recently presented their comprehensive document to some government officials about the opportunities, challenges and the way forward for the Labour Externalization sub-sector.
UFFRA wants a revolving Fund from government to help youth who wish to go for jobs abroad but are unable to find funds to pay for the travel processes. The youth would pay back the loans after they have started earning and working in the foreign countries.
In his speech at Kololo, Museveni noted that labour externalisation to North America, Europe and the Middle East provides an opportunity for Uganda to solve the youth unemployment problem. Museveni also applauded the Uganda Patriotism secretariat for organizing such a colorful event that was attended by thousands of Ugandan youths.
“Uganda has a total population of approximate 42m and the public sector can only employ up to only 480,000 Ugandans while the rest can only be employed in the private sector,” Museveni said, adding that his government will strengthen the Entandikwa (Capital) Programme that will be operationalized at the district level to provide capital for the unemployed youth who would like to create employment. The President received several business proposals made by the youth to be considered by the president’s office for funding.
UFFRA Chairperson, Beinamaryo 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 where line Minister Janat B. Mukwaya has done a commendable job to streamline the labour externalization industry.
In an interview, Beinamaryo noted that more than 800,000 Ugandans are currently working in the Diaspora and directly improving the lives of their dependants and families. “Labour externalization could be looked at as the immediate short term solution to the current youth unemployment problem that Uganda is facing,’’ Beinamaryo said.
She explained that 300,000 jobs have been created in the Diaspora for Ugandans in the last two years alone. She revealed that the federation in an effort to create employment has faced a number of challenges such as red tape in government where the process of vetting candidates in labour ministry and Security agencies (ISO, INTERPOL) is delayed.
Beinamaryo added that lack of Labor Attaches in the Embassies in the Countries where Ugandans are deployed has also been a problem in the sector so much that when a Ugandan gets a problem, they have nowhere to run to for help.
’’Arbitrary arrests and office closures by Police and authorities have also been rampant; offices of labour recruitment companies have been raided while others have been closed,” Beinamaryo noted, she adds that these challenges have affected the recruitment companies’ abilities from creating more opportunities for Ugandans abroad. She requested the government to provide more support to the sector since it has the potential of creating more than 200,000 jobs for Ugandans annually.
She further requested government to work with them by agreeing to create a Directorate and a one stop centre (Ministry of Gender, ISO, Interpol, Immigration, Ministry of foreign affairs) under the President’s office. “We source employment for hundreds of Ugandans in the fight against unemployment annually,” Beinamaryo revealed.
In addition, the federation asked government to consider a joint effort in creating a revolving fund to assist the poor youth, who target selling their land and Property in order to afford the requirements to travel and work abroad. They also requested the government to help the innocent persons that were arrested before the investigations yet they were fully cleared by the Ministry to travel to Saudi Arabia.
It should be noted that in the recent past, Police and the State House Anti -Corruption Unit have carried arrests of many bosses of external recruiting agencies , who have since been charged before courts with human trafficking , extortion of money from the youth among others.
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