KAMPALA – The Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) has launched a state-of-the art carpentry workshop at Luzira Prison in Nakawa Division, Kampala.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, said the facility has the capacity to produce the best wood in the country and will save government money and time spent on buying furniture from abroad.
“We have been spending about UGX40m to dry a truck full of wood at private facilities but with this facility, we only need Shs2.5m for fuel. Without the facility, we have been using air curing to dry the timber which would take a minimum of two years but it has now been reduced to less than 30 days,” said Dr Byabashaija while commissioning the facility at Luzira Prison in Nakawa Division.
“We have the motivation, commitment, technical know-how and the resources to execute the mandate given to us by the President,” he added.
Dr Byabashaija revealed that the prisons service is currently constructing two workshops at Luzira Upper Prison and Kitalya Prison in Mityana District with a view to expanding the working area to quicken the production.
According to the prisons boss, the carpentry works is implemented by inmates under the supervision of the prison staff.
Under the Prisons Act, semi-skilled inmates are paid Shs800 and skilled ones are paid Shs1300.
“All the inmates working in these workshops are paid in line with the laws. And those working will be equipped with skills to enable them execute their work to the required standard,” said Dr Byabashaija.
He also revealed that 30 government ministries, departments and agencies have placed orders for furniture from the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS).
Nakawa Division Mayor, Eng. Ronald Balimwezo commended the prisons service for the facility and appealed to government to increase funding to the prisons service to enable the officers fulfill their mandate of rehabilitating the citizens.
“This is an important facility for the growth of the economy and an indication of value for money. It is a state of the art using less energy. It is going to help inmates to acquire more skills and also earn while in detention,” said Eng Balimwezo.