Labour Ministry working on bill to deter underpayment

James Hoth Mai, Minister of Labor- credit eye radio

By Gladys Kole

The Minister of Labour James Hoth Mai said nationals who are hired by private companies and facing exploitation in terms of underpayment will have to be patient as his ministry is working on a law to protect their interest.

He disclosed that they have hired a consultant to look into the issue of segregation in terms of payment in private companies between the foreign employees and national workers in the country.

Mai was reacting to a complaint raised by the chairperson of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce Mr. Robert Pitia who slammed foreign private companies of exploiting national workers in expense of foreigners being paid handsomely despite doing the same work. 

The minister said they are working hard to resolve the issue saying although the pay will not be the same the margin will be minimum adding that the business owners will be urged to increase the salaries of the nationals.

There are serious issues of unequal pay as South Sudanese employed by private companies especially those run by foreigners are earning less salary than foreign employees though they sometimes perform the same task.

“The first responsibility of any foreign investor’s institution is to create jobs and be part of social economic development to the area where they are operating their business hence exploitation of individuals is not encouraged,” said Robert Pitia CES chamber of Commerce chair.

Minister Hoth Mai told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that they are aware of the happenings and how much the nationals and foreigners earn in the private sectors.

He however hinted that since there is no law that has been enacted to guide them such that they don’t pay less, there’s nothing that the ministry could do about it.

He appealed to the citizens to be patient for the law to be put in place so that they are protected.

“Now it is not only the employer dictating at the work space since we don’t have any regulation that actually compels them to do right,” he noted.  

He stressed that it will take some time for the law to be enacted because when they finish with their consultancy then they will have to consult the population, business owners, private sectors, and government entities.

 “We want to consult different institutions maybe until end of this year that’s when it will be out and be subjected to the cabinet and then to parliament,”

“Although the foreigners will not be like nationals because they are so many factors hindering them while here especially the risks they encounter, so the margin will not be higher.

Mai promised that they are going to also regulate and fix the loopholes that allowed hiring of foreigners on the tickets of national.

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