Minister Mutuuzo’s Remarks At The Opening of UAERA Symposium And Expo 2019

Executives of UAERA and UFFRA All recruitment Companies

Good morning to you all. I am pleased to officiate at opening of this Symposium this morning.

At the time of holding the first symposium in October 2018, there were 86 licensed recruitment companies. Today, we have 187 registered companies. This exponential growth is a demonstration that the public has now embraced this industry as a legitimate industry and not modern-day slavery as some people had tried to misrepresent the facts.

Furthermore, the exponential growth is also a demonstration that the services provided by the recruitment companies are real and that the migrant workers externalized are benefiting from the services of the recruiting companies.

Indeed, Bank of Uganda Statistics shows that annually migrant workers placed abroad by the companies assembled here remit over USD 600 million per year compared to about USD 550 million earned from coffee.

It said that going up is easier than staying up. You have been able to turn around the image of the industry. However, in order to maintain

this good image, you must continue abiding by the laws and the guidelines provided by the Ministry

Furthermore, I would like to urge the recruitment companies to conduct business with transparency and honesty. Companies must desist from over-charging candidates for migrant work. Besides, companies should only receive money from clients after securing jobs abroad. The government will continue to take stern actions against companies that receive money from migrant workers and fail to deploy them.

I wish also to address you on the matter on monitoring the workers you place abroad. The inter-ministerial committee on externalization of labour recommended among others that the ban on externalization of labour should only be lifted after a mechanism of monitoring migrant workers has been established.

Furthermore, the lifting of the ban by Cabinet on 9th March, 2017 was also on the understanding that the recruitment companies would complement government efforts to monitor workers deployed abroad. Besides it is your responsibility to monitor workers under the law.

However, some companies do not take monitoring seriously. The business you are in is not a business of selling charcoal. Let me remind you that labour is not a commodity. Your business is therefore not labour export This is because export presupposes the selling of goods and services abroad. I have told you before that recruitment companies do not sell anybody abroad.

The role of recruitment companies is to facilitate the placement of human beings abroad. Therefore, unlike the charcoal seller who does not have any responsibility over the charcoal they sell, you have responsibility over the workers you place abroad.

Therefore, no company in line with the cabinet decision will participate in the externalization of labour without undertaking monitoring. Accordingly, all companies that have fallen short in this regard must wake up and ensure that they undertake monitoring.

On our part, the government will continue to create an enabling political and economic environment for the externalisation of labour sector. To this end, among others, the ministry is going to finalize the External Employment Management Information System. The system will expedite document processing and capturing of real time data on migrant workers leaving and returning to the country. This will therefore ease traceability of migrant workers and provision of consular services.

The External Employment Management Information System will also expedite document processing. This will deal a big blow to traffickers. This is because one of the marketing points of the traffickers is that they deploy faster than the formal channels.

The one Stop Centre established in partnership with UAERA at BMK House will also complement EEMIS and other measures in improving the services the Ministry renders to the Industry.

We know that we have done a lot but more still has to be done. We therefore welcome this symposium as a forum for knowledge sharing on how the sector can be improved.

We therefore look forward to the outcome document of the Symposium for purposes of informing policy review

It is now my singular honour and privilege to officially open the UAERA Symposium and Expo 2019

For God and My Country

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