GAPEA demonstrates against ban on recruitment

The demonstrators

The demonstrators

Members of the Ghana Association of Private Employers Agencies (GAPEA), yesterday embarked on demonstration to register their displeasure over the 16 months ban by government on the recruitment of workers to the Gulf countries.

The members who were clad in red bands and wielded placards with inscriptions such as ‘Lift ban on licensed agencies’,’16 months of ban is enough Mr Minister’, ‘Mr President Help us for jobless in Ghana’, ‘We are unable to return back after vacation’, ‘There are genuine jobs in the Gulf’ ‘Empowerment is a national security concern’, ‘Allow us to travel legally’, and ‘Why prevent legal migrantS.’

They demonstrated through some of the principal streets of Accra; from the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Farisco, Adabraka, through the Ministries, to the Arts Centre where the group presented a petition to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah through his Deputy Mr. Bright Wireko-Brobbey.

The Vice Chairman of GAPEA, Mr Attah Jibril Abubakar told journalists that the 16 months ban has resulted in unemployment of the members of GAPEA.

He said GAPEA were into legal business and fully registered by the government.

Therefore government efforts in streamlining the sector had taken too long.

He said they had gone to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations on several occasion on this issue but to no avail.

The Vice Chairman said a report had been sent to Parliament on this issue, but the association is yet to receive a reply.

Mr Wireko-Brobbey, receiving the petition said it would be presented to the Minister.

He said the petition would be treated with the necessary attention to ensure the matter was addressed amicably.

According to the Deputy Minister, the ban was to ensure there was sanity in the industry and not to deprive them of their businesses.

It would be recalled that GAPEA on September 7, threatened to embark on demonstration if government failed to lift the ban on the recruitment of workers to the Gulf countries.

According to them, the 16 months ban has affected their businesses adversely.

They said as a result of the suspension ,licensed agencies have also laid off some workers which further aggravate the unemployment situation and losing a lot of revenue that comes from issuance of exist permit andmedical examination fees.

Government last year placed a ban on the recruitment of workers to the Gulf countries after a hike in reported cases of abuse faced by migrant workers.

The directive followed calls by several human rights activists to ban visa issuance to Gulf counties such as Kuwait, Oman, Qartar, and Saudi Arabia to migrants travelling as domestic help.

By Anita Nyarko-Yirenkyi

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