Foreign Labor Increased Unemployment :Citizens should deal with any handicraftsman with no membership card
Craftsmen have expressed their growing concern about increasing prices and demonstrated pessimism about the current situation. They have begun to worry about their fate under growing influx of foreign labor into the country. Despite difficult economic conditions and limited job opportunities, the influx of foreign labor added to the misery and increasing their suffering, said the craftsmen. A number of craftsmen in Khartoum have warned of foreign labor’s control on the labor market. The increasing influx of foreign labor will but increase the suffering of national labor and will have disastrous impact on various crafts sectors and trade, argued the craftsmen.
“The labor market has seen rocketing increase of prices and that the lifting of subsidy on fuels will further aggravate the situation, said Babikir Fadl Asied Mohamed, the secretary general of craftsmen union. Mohamed added that the state has not cared about crafts industries over the past; however, he pointed out training programs provided by the state on different specialties, which he said would contribute to rehabilitating industry in Sudan. Mohamed said the Khartoum state had promised to provide additional training at the expense of the government.
Problems facing handicraftsmen
Mohamed accused the general union of excluding handicraftsmen and industrialists from taking part in decision concerning them. He said huge labor got their way into the country despite the fact that foreign labor has been proved a failure in various fields.
Modesty of Sudanese citizen
Most of Sudanese care about appearances. Their humbleness makes them treat industrialists in good faith; in addition some private institutions in Sudan have imported these foreign laborers for the sake of a fake prestige to promote their reputation and increase prices of their products as the case with private clinics and restaurants. Therefore, we have made the decision that Sudanese citizen should not deal with handicraftsmen with membership cards from the union, said Mohamed, adding that “I hope the general union will see it.”
The handicraftsmen were compelled by desire living condition to give up studies and enter labor market. He called on craftsmen to legalize their trade by getting work card so that they can go about their businesses without problems. Mohamed further said that the laborers are faced with difficulties getting a place for work due sky-rocketing rent prices.
Pros and cons
Many reported indicated the pros and cons of foreign labors for instance illegal stay of foreigners in the country, proliferation of crimes, and decrease in supporting vocational training for nationals which resulted in reliance on foreign labor. On the hand, the advantage include the importation of foreign consultancy have contributed to tapping the country’s riches and competition in the labor market.
A number of handicraftsmen at Al-Shafa Mahata Sabaa through their personal efforts were able to establish a foundation for craftsmen and named “Mahata Sabaa Craftsmen Foundation”, whose income goes to the families of member craftsmen. The craftsmen pay monthly contribution in order to supply equipment to help one another. They also formed a cooperative society to become one body despite their different departments of work, tribal and regional affiliations. Sudan Vision has visited the location and spoke to a food vendor who said that she has been working at the location for years, but complained about increasing prices. She said that the handicraftsmen were very nice to her and pay her monthly for food they have consumed.
“I have been a house painter since 1984. There is a big difference between the work in the past and now due to the arrival of pools of foreign laborers in the country to control various fields,” said Meki Dafaallah, a house painter. “It may seem to many that such influx was a natural result of oil production in the country but that is not correct,” he added.
Dafaallah said that Sudan is going through a tremendous economic recession if not collapse and decrease at all levels, widespread unemployment and alarmingly growing poverty rate, which warn of a looming disaster in the near future if these issues are not addressed immediately specially by companies importing foreign labor. “As you can see we are lying on the ground because we have no job to do; besides harassments by local authorities,” he said. “We ask the media organs to shed light on the dire conditions handicraftsmen are going through.”
“I have been involved in this trade for more than 17 years, “said Yagoub, a construction worker, but “Sudanese seem to be fascinated by foreign labor nowadays,” he lamented. He said that no matter what reasons are the influx of foreign labor is harming national laborers and may pose a threat to the national civil service if the phenomenon is not taken into consideration.
Uncle Al-Hadi, who has reached a retirement age, carpenter, said that he has been in the trade for 40 years and that the profession of carpentry runs in his blood, but complained that local customers are beginning to prefer imported furniture despite its poor quality compared with domestic products.
According to reports by the Minister of Interior, there are 33.822 foreign laborers in the country, 1736 of them are house workers, 32.086 technicians working in strategic projects, and that illegally foreigners are estimated at three million persons involved in odd jobs, house work from neighboring Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan. There are 103 foreign physicians from various nationalities on training at public, private and friendly hospitals, whose status is legal in terms of procedures related to residence.
Different from many countries, Sudan has the characteristics of unique geographical location attractive to immigrants from different countries, finding their way into the country through various means and ways – legally and illegally, which requires concerting popular and official efforts to control foreign presence in the country. Sudan’s development in oil production, telecommunication and current international financial crisis, renders the country as magnet of foreigners, form Asia, Africa, who may contribute to ongoing development in electricity, sugar, cement and construction industries; besides petroleum. However, the increasing influx of foreigners will pose threat to local communities therefore concerned authorities should take this issue into serious considerations to address problems that have surfaced so far.
By Najat Ahmed, 01/07/2012