The Uganda labour externalisation industry is a vital source of livelihood for both the employees and their families and a major pillar of the economy that ought to be protected by all the stakeholders and bad apples weeded out, Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, CEO Premier Recruitment has said.
Rajiv also said, beyond direct economic gains, labour externalization had other benefits such skills transfer, mobilization of capital for investment and improving household incomes and standards of living for their dependents back home.
“Uganda has a competitive advantage over a number of African countries because of our good English that we need to leverage just like our neighbours in Kenya. According to the World Bank and IMF Balance of Payments as well as Bank of Uganda data, personal remittances to Uganda have grown by 174.6% from $451.6 million (UGX1.66 trillion) in 2007 to $1.24billion (UGX4.5 trillion) in 2017, but our neighbours, Kenya raked in $1.962 billion (UGX7.2 trillion) in 2017 and $2.5 billion (UGX9.2 trillion) in 2018,” noted Rajiv.
Adding: “Diaspora remittances to Uganda are equivalent to 30% of Uganda’s traditional export earnings- $3.4bn (UGX12.5 trillion) in 2017 and $3.6bn (UGX13.2 trillion) in 2018 and almost 3 times bigger than coffee export receipts- $555.4m (UGX2 trillion) in 2017 and $436.4m (UGX1.6 trillion) in 2018. Protecting and harnessing more value from this vital sector should be the responsibility of everyone.”
The Bank of Uganda, Personal Transfers Survey 2017 indicated that the Middle East was the second biggest source of remittances to Uganda (28.6%) after Africa (29%). Europe (20.7%) and North/South America (18.41%) were third and fourth respectively.
According to the Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies, there are 140,000 skilled and semi-skilled Ugandans working in the Middle East as blue-collar professionals as well as technicians, security personnel, porters, drivers, cleaners, housekeepers, catering and hospitality personnel. Domestic workers only account for about 30%.
Last week, Premier Recruitment, which opened its doors to the labour export business last year, sent its first batch of 8 Ugandan ladies to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they will work as domestic workers on a two year contract, 6 months after it entered the private labour recruitment market.
Kanak Shah, the Premier Recruitment revealed that all company staff have been trained about the relevant labour laws, so as to be able to “deliver a professional recruitment service” but also keep everyone up-to-date and compliant with “any changes and updates within Employment Law, both here and abroad.”