Inside Govt Plan to Build Ksh 304M Safe House in Saudi Arabia

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) speaks to COTU SG Francis Atwoli
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) speaks to COTU SG Francis Atwoli.
  • The Ministry of Labour has announced plans to build a safe house in Saudi Arabia to cater for troubled Kenyan workers in the Gulf region.

    In a statement dated Wednesday, May 25, the National Assembly Budgets and Appropriation Committee revealed that the state was seeking Ksh304 million to be used in setting up the safe house.

    The committee explained that the safe house will provide refuge for the Kenyan workers who suffer mistreatment by their employers.

    While addressing the press, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli, also challenged Parliament to fast-track the Labour Migration Bill.

    Parliament Buildings in Nairobi in a photo shared by Senate in 2019

    Atwoli argued that if the country created a conducive working environment for all, Kenyans would not find the need to seek employment elsewhere.

    "Poverty is everywhere. It is not just a concept but it is in the real sense and requires a lot of efforts by those in authority to make sure they put policies in place that can spur economic growth and create more employment.

    "This will stop people on this continent wanting to leave for greener pastures as promised in other countries. We must put attractive policies that can create employment and eradicate corruption," he stated.

    Previously, the COTU boss admitted that Kenyans in the Gulf faced hardship and demanded a ban on Kenyans being sent to work in Saudi Arabia by recruitment agencies.

    He further noted that bodies arrive from the Middle East aboard the country's planes landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) every morning.

    The outcry has, in recent months, led the country to open talks in with its Gulf counterparts after mistreatment became apparent.

    On February 21, 2022, the Qatar government, as a result, announced that it had blacklisted 12 Kenyan agencies responsible for recruiting Kenyans seeking job opportunities in the Gulf country.

    Among the agencies suspended by the Qatari Minister for Labour and Social Services, Ali bin Samikh Al Marri included Starch, Anand, Sunrise, Dubai, Frame, Al Adam, Absher, Al Methaq, Resala, Altaaon, and Althabat.

    Qatari officials noted that the agencies had violated the law and that the operation was part of monitoring efforts to preserve the rights of employers of domestic workers. Consequently, the licenses of the 12 were revoked.

    Saudi Arabia Capital City, Riyadh.
    Saudi Arabia Capital City, Riyadh.