Veep Urges Ghanaians Deceived Into Oil-Rich Countries
From Patrick Biddah
Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur, has served notice of government’s willingness to expose the activities of agencies in Ghana , whose stock in trade is to recruit Ghanaians for nonexistence white collar jobs in the gulf.
He said, it was important to name and shame these agencies whose promise of recruiting unsuspecting Ghanaians for employment in the gulf turns out to be nothing, except dehumanizing jobs.
His advice amidst report that, Ghanaians recruited to another oil-rich country, Qatar were also facing dehumanizing problems. A promise of earning thousands of dollars in lucrative jobs did not also materialize.
They are rather paid in local currencies, less than even US$200, while doing menial jobs. They had paid an Accra-based company thousands of dollars
Responding to concerns by Ghanaians living in Kuwait when he met them on Wednesday, after the successful closing ceremony of the Third Afro Arab summit which he represented Ghana, the Vice-President indicated that action needs to be taken to stop innocent Ghanaians from falling into the nets of these
Close to 1,000 Ghanaians, including students are living in Kuwait, many had paid monies to agencies to get decent and lucrative jobs, but has ended up being house helps and others forced into prostitution, when they arrived here.
A particular visa type, which the Ghanaians mentioned as ‘Visa 20’ is secured by the agents to get their Ghanaian clients into Kuwait knowing that such a visa cannot be admitted under the Kuwaiti immigration laws for any lucrative employment, except for employment as a house help.
They explain that the operation of the agent is a calculated arrangement in the sense that, as soon as a Ghanaian arrives in the Kuwait, the person’s passport is collected, leaving him or her to no choice than to succumb to working as a house help and in some cases prostitution, which is illegal in Kuwait, resulting in arrests.
As the first step to exposing these agencies, the Vice-President suggested the creation of a website to list all the illegal agencies, whose arrangement for travelling to the Gulf has not been what they promised.
They claim that most of the victims are illiterates, who do not understand the negotiations they enter into, whilst others have falling prey due to their inability to read and understand Arabic, before consenting to any deal leading them into prostitution and house helps.
On the issue of opening an embassy in Kuwait to handle the immigration and diplomatic issues for Ghanaians living in Kuwait, Mr. Amissah-Arthur indicated that he will raise the matter with government, but added that it is expensive to open an embassy in a country.
He explained that the opening of an embassy, does not just involve appointing an ambassador, but also supporting staff, accommodation and a property to operate in, adding that America has not been able to open embassies in the over 150 countries in the World.
Questioned on high duty on imported cars at Ghana’s port, the Vice-President explained that as much as an importer may have bought a car at a cheap price for shipment to Ghana , the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have a valuation base for all cars .
This, he said compels Customs to value the car based on its age and the international valuation rate, after which it calculates the duty for payment and that the depreciation rate is also considered by Customs .
He hinted government’s effort at transforming the ports, by expanding it and ensure a 24 hour shift system towards easing congestion.
He also used the occasion to touch on the recently read 2014 budget statement by the Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper , when he said that the budget is a transformational one in the sense that it seeks to make government less of a burden on its people with the 10 per cent salary cut for the executives as announced by the Finance Minister.
The Vice-President praised Ghanaians in Kuwait for being law abiding even in the face of huge difficulties, saying that the interaction he had with the
Kuwaiti authorities did not suggest that any Ghanaian was involved in any criminal activity.
For her part, the President of the Ghanaian Community in Kuwait, Hajia Mariam Wayo , said the establishment of an embassy in Kuwait, would go a long way to solve issues concerning Ghanaians.
Her argument was that the Ghanaian embassy in Saudi Arabia, which has oversight responsibility over Kuwait has not been prompt when issues are sent to them for their attention.
For example, she said that there has been some deportation over immigration issues which could have been resolved at diplomatic level, if Ghana had an embassy in Kuwait.
The Vice-President, who was also in Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the capital, Colombo is accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr. Kwesi Quartey.
They have since returned home.