The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is engaging the National Covid-19 Taskforce and the Ministry of Health for guidance on the resumption of externalization of labour.
According to Aggrey Kibenge, the ministry’s permanent secretary, they started getting clearance requests for migrant workers intending to return to their workplaces following the resumption of international passenger flights in most countries and the reopening of Entebbe International Airport on October 1.
When President Museveni prohibited passenger flights on March 18 to limit the importation of Covid-19, the ministry also suspended labour externalization activities the following day.
But with flights now operating, workers who had returned to Uganda on vacation or for any other reasons want to return to duty.
However, the airport was mostly reopened to resume tourism activities and help Ugandans who were stranded abroad return home, which is why the ministry wants guidance on the labour externalization sector.
“We also note that the measured reopening of Entebbe International Airport was meant to cater to tourists and returning Ugandans. Any other category of travellers has to be cleared by the National COVID-19 Taskforce,” Kibenge said in a statement.
“In light of the above, the Ministry is reviewing the current suspension of externalization of labour. Accordingly, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development has written to the Minister of Health seeking advice on the feasibility of reopening externalization of labour.”
The ministry says even if clearance is given by the Ministry of Health and the National Taskforce on Covid-19, it is their considered view that the reopening should be phased.
“The first phase will start with clearance of all categories of migrant workers other than domestic workers,” reads the statement.
“The slight delay in reopening of externalisation of domestic workers is because the Government would like to put in place additional measures aimed at promoting and protecting the welfare and rights of Ugandan domestic workers abroad.”
That being said, the ministry says it will engage all stakeholders including the private recruitment companies and an announcement on resumption will be made.
“… the public will be duly informed as and when the Ministry resumes normal externalisation of labour operations,” the statement says.