NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – Saudi Arabia ambassadorial nominee Peter Ogego says there is need for the government to develop a sophisticated policy regime to promote and regulate labour emigration.
Speaking during parliamentary approval hearing, Ogego cited export of temporary labour as an explicit response to double-digit unemployment rates.
He cited a practice in South Sudan where Filipino nationals working in the hospitality industry had an arrangement between them and international money transfer agencies where there remittances would be sent back home.
“We need some legislation that will regulate the export of labour in this country, countries like the Philippines have streamlined their export of labour and it is a major contribution to their GDP.”
“I think Kenya has come of age; we have educated Kenyans, we have professional we need to structure ourselves and organise a very clear framework of exporting our labour to the countries that need it. We will need to work with the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the recruiting agencies and agents in Saudia,” he said in his explanation.
Ogego has served as ambassador to the US, Mexico, Cuba, Canada and the Sudan Peace Process.
MPs Yusuf Hassan (Kamukunji) and Bashir Sheikh (Mandera North) said a Muslim ambassador is better placed to handle Hajj affairs as there are important cities in Saudi Arabia where access is limited to Muslims.
They advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that a Muslim is assigned as a deputy ambassador after Ogego tried to downplay the matter by citing the Vienna Convention clauses, which guide envoys of tour of duty on restricted areas they should not visit.
“I am aware of the importance of the state of Saudia in regards to the religion of Islam and we have Kenyans who go there every other time and at the same time the Kingdom receives ambassadors every other time, from all over the world who I doubt all of them are of Islamic faith. But the Vienna Convention guides us and there are regulations, and as I said our interests as a state is to promote trade, protect our nationals and maintains the historical and cordial relations that we have cultivated,”
Kenya signed bilateral labour agreements with Qatar and Saudi Arabia in November, pledging the security of Kenyan migrant workers in the two states, and issued licenses to 29 recruitment agencies in Kenya.
The career diplomat refuted claims that he is related to ODM leader Raila Odinga.
“I am not related to anybody of influence. My name is Oginga, my father’s name is Ogego. Catholics are given two names one is Peter and Nicholas is my confirmation name,” he said.