Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs George Chaponda has said government will continue with the labour export programme introduced by the People’s Party (PP) government as one way of creating jobs for the country’s youths.
Chaponda in an interview on Wednesday, however, ruled out involvement of middle men in the new set-up, saying recruitment of young people using middle men previously resulted in labour exploitation because of lack formal agreements between potential employers and employees.
His comments also come after Weekend Nation exposed challenges Malawian workers face in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Chaponda said most youths were exploited because they did not use proper channels to go abroad.
“Most young people going to such countries have not been using proper channels but have been rushing to using middle men and as a result, they end up paying huge sums of money,” he said.
Chaponda admitted to have received complaints from some Malawians living in the UAE but said interventions are currently underway.
“[They are] interventions, especially in Abu Dhabi, where some employees faced a lot of challenges from their employers ranging from termination of contracts without prior notice and accommodation constraints, among others, and have since been resolved.
“I have been to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha to discuss with government officials and employers on reports that Malawians were being treated as slaves. So far, there has been an improvement in their conditions of service,” said Chaponda.
According to Chaponda, the two governments agreed on a long term solution arrangement which will see more skilled labour from Malawi being exported to the Arab country.
He said Malawi and the UAE agreed to revisit their memorandum of understanding (MoU) on labour export to enhance collaboration.
“The Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labour have already started examining the MoU and after its review, it will be made public,” he said.
Chaponda disclosed that employers from the UAE are expected in the country before end of October to discuss and possibly sign the new MoU.
He, however, did not disclose contents of the new MoU, insisting it will be made available to the public once all arrangements have been finalised.