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Government has with immediate effect suspended licensing and registration of new external labour recruitment companies to allow investigations into allegations of abuse of procedures and torture.

Although authorities at the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development confirmed suspension without disclosing the details, sources in the directorate of labour have talked of “vicious abuse of procedures” and “collusion in the ministry”.

There are reports that some officials connive with external labour exporters to illegally clear underage girls to work as maids in Arab countries. Others have either left the country without medical check up or with fake documents.

Ministry of labour have issued a public notice, saying: “The ministry of gender, labour and social development is currently reviewing internal processes and procedures in the management of externalisation of labour. This is an effort to improve overall workflow efficiency in the external employment management information system. On that note, the ministry has temporarily suspended the licensing of new external labour recruitment companies until further notice,” a notice written by Mr Pius Bigirimana, Permanent Secretary, ministry of gender, labour and social development, reads in part.

When contacted on Monday, Mr Bigirimana, confirmed the content of the notice and said without disclosing the details that there is an internal evaluation process going on to effectively manage the external labour export.

“Yes, I have issued that notice and we are carrying out internal evaluation of the process to ensure that we do the right things as government and also the same with the labour exporters,” Mr Bigirimana said.

When asked what prompted the halting of the licensing of the new companies, Mr Bigirimana said as the ministry responsible for labour, they want to be sure of what the external labour exporters are doing and how they manage the people they send abroad.

“That is one of the reasons why we are carrying out what we call internal audit to find out what these people are doing. When we are done with that, we shall move to the next step.”

Mr Bigirimana however remained coy on how long the suspension will last and whether some of the already licensed companies will be affected by the internal audit.

The external labour export has been fraught with corruption, torture of the girls sent to Middle East and other irregularities. Last year, hackers took down the external labour information management system of the ministry, paralyzing operations for over two months.

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