Mist hovers over Israel jobs deal

Mist hovers over Israel jobs deal

Malawi and Israel at the weekend failed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a government-to-government agreement to facilitate labour exports to Israel, it has emerged.

The development has left in suspense a team of youth earmarked to leave for Israel soon after the Easter Holidays.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola Banda had earlier assured the youths that they would be dispatched to Israel after Easter upon the signing of the MoU.

But yesterday, Malawi Government officials were coy on details regarding when Israel and Malawi would sign the deal.

Chithyola Banda did not pick our calls while both Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials could not divulge details on when the Israeli delegation would be in the country to sign the deal.

A Malawian worker (R) in Israel with MP Joyce Chitsulo earlier this year

In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson John Kabaghe said he had no information on the signing of the MoU.

“I am currently not aware of this visit, but I am investigating to get more information,” he said.

But in an interview yesterday, Tapson Maganga, spokesperson for the group that was earmarked to fly to Israel once the deal resumes, said during a meeting with Chithyola Banda last week, the minister assured them that delegates from Israel would be in Malawi during Easter for the signing of the MoU.

He said: “The minister was even the first to arrive for last week’s meeting in Lilongwe. He said an Israeli delegation would come this week or Malawi would send representatives to Israel to seal the deal.

“Those that organised the meeting advised us to wait until Friday before taking further action.”

Parliamentary Task Force on Labour Export to Israel chairperson Joyce Chitsulo could also not confirm the said visit by Israeli delegates despite being part of the engagement last week.

“All that the minister has told me is that the labour deal will resume after Easter holidays but I cannot confirm about the Israeli delegation,” she said.

Youth and Society (YAS) has since intervened on the matter by engaging government officials and representatives of the youth vying for the Israel jobs.

A communiqué dated March 30 2024 signed by YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka said they engaged Chithyola Banda and the parliamentary task force, including its chairperson Chitsulo as well as members Bertha Ndebele and Mike Bango.

YAS said it demanded that government should expedite the signing of the MoU, speed up the dispatch of 4 500 youth as earlier committed, implement an orientation programme before deployment and decentralise the recruitment processes.

Initially, Israel pledged to provide Malawi with up to 100 000 job opportunities across various sectors.

But three weeks ago, Israel said it had limited to 2 500s the number of Malawians who can work in farms after the MoU is signed to facilitate recruitment resumption.

Under the new arrangement, the contract period for new Malawian workers has also been reduced from five to two years.

In a recent interview with The Nation, Kenya-based Israeli Ambassador Michael Lotem justified this decision, saying the MoU should be understood as a pilot project and “therefore, only a limited number of jobs can be offered and for a limited time [two years in Israel] as the two governments work on the bilateral labour agreement”.

Presenting the 2024/2025 National Budget Statement in Parliament on February 23, Chithyola Banda underscored the potential of the Malawi-Israel labour export deal to bring about a paradigm shift in the country’s employment landscape.

The agreement, he stressed, is designed not only to streamline the employment process but also to safeguard prospective employees against exploitation, thereby opening up new avenues of opportunity for Malawian youth.

The post Mist hovers over Israel jobs deal first appeared on Nation Online.

The post Mist hovers over Israel jobs deal appeared first on Nation Online.