Parliament demands answers on stranded Ugandan workers in Saudi Arabia

Kadaga demands Kenya’s assurance on Uganda’s assets
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has asked the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development to brief Parliament on the plight of stranded migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.

Kadaga’s decision followed the presentation of a matter of national importance by the Bugabula South MP Henry Kibalya who told the house that 43 Ugandans were stuck in Saudi Arabia with no means of returning home and yet the recruiting companies had turned a deaf ear to their plight.

Kibalya noted that the Ugandans had sought refuge at Uganda’s Embassy in Riyadh but had to leave after the mission was shut due to limited resources.

He points out that when the local recruitment companies in Uganda were asked by the ministry to get in touch with their sister agencies abroad the stranded Ugandans were asked to sign new contracts which were however presented in Arabic.

The companies refused to offer contracts in English Kibalya disclosed.

Kibalya asked the government to use its resources in the various ministries like the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Office of the Prime Minister to help the stranded Ugandans return.

The Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebagala noted that there were many Ugandans stranded abroad including in neighbouring Kenya. He wondered why the government cannot arrange transport for Ugandans in neighbouring countries.

Kibalya laid on the floor of Parliament, a letter written on the 19th of January 2021 from the Ministry of Gender and Labour to the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies [UAERA] warning the recruitment companies that the regulations of the externalization of labour place an obligation on the recruitment agency to ensure that the well being of the workers is promoted and that they are amply protected.

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The letter directs the companies to liaise with their partners abroad to ensure that the stranded Ugandan workers in Saudi Arabia and other countries are repatriated and that the ministry should be updated on the methods taken by the 25th of January 2021. The letter was written by Lawrence Egulu on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender.

Kadaga said that the matter was a human rights issue and noted that the Minister for Gender labour and Social development needed to update the house on the situation of the stranded migrant workers on Tuesday next week.