Museveni challenges prisons to expand construction unit; handle bigger projects
President Museveni has asked Uganda Prisons Services to expand their construction unit to ensure they can handle all their construction project and even bigger ones outside the prisons.
“I know prisons has good construction unit. If you know how to build houses why don’t you build more prisons by yourselves so that the Ministry of Internal Affairs only looks for money to buy materials and you concentrate on building prisons,” Museveni said.
The president was on Friday speaking during the pass-out ceremony of 2,018 Prisons warders and wardresses at Kololo ceremonial grounds.
Museveni’s comments stemmed from an earlier comment by the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr.Johnson Byabashaija in regards the issue of congestion for inmates.
“Our congestion at the moment is 360%. This is a very serious issue because it impacts on morbidity and mortality of inmates and health of the staff,”Dr.Byabashaija said.
However, speaking in response, the president said it is high time the prisons expanded their construction unit to start constructing prisons facilities and avoid using contractors to do the construction which makes the process expensive.
“The army had that problem of contractors. They were about to kill Uganda. When I analysed for the army people, I showed them they were in wrong direction. Many of contractors in Uganda are poor themselves. They don’t have their own capital When you give them jobs to construct, they go to commercial banks, borrow money at 24% to come and buy materials Because they are private sector people, they want a profit of 20%. Already, you have got 44% additional money. Nothing to do with building but the contractor will first have to pay banks and then his big profit. There is also 18% VAT,”Museveni said.
“Instead of building a facility for one billion shillings, it will be for shs1.8 billion and the additional money is for non-construction activities like profits for commercial banks and government taxes.”
The president noted that by using their own construction unit, prisons can save a lot of money that would go into these projects.
“Do the work yourself so that we get enough prisons and accommodation for the staff. We should only be struggling with money to buy materials like cement and iron bars.”
Museveni was also amused when he was told that the prisons construction unit is currently undertaking the construction of prisons in Rukungiri and Ntungamo, which he described as a good development.
He however noted that with time, the prisons construction unit can expand to start getting construction works from private individuals so that they rake in money into the institution.
“The American army built the railway line of their own country. Don’t lament about buildings when you have got builders. You can earn money from the public. The Chinese road companies originally many were army construction companies. It is when they finished building al houses in China that government told them to go abroad and get money from sleeping ones. You can build for the public not only in Uganda but also outside the country,” Museveni urged.
He also urged the prisons authorities to ensure they work on the welfare of the staff so that they enjoy serving the country.
He said this can be done through construction of schools where children for prisons staff study free of charge, as well as setting up health facilities, the future for the staff will have been secured.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr.Johnson Byabashaija said all prisons staff are ideologically clear to ensure they contribute to the development of the country.
“Members of prison service are very loyal to government, and commander in chief. They have demonstrated this with ideological clarity in the recent past. They will continue supporting you as you endeavor to steer the country to the middle-income status. We are ideologically very clear and the sky is the limit,” Dr. Byabashaija noted.
He however urged the new prison warders and wardresses to serve according to the values of the institution.
“Strictly serve according to core values of discipline, professionalism, integrity, oneness and you will succeed in your career. You will grow to reach these ranks Divert from it, the prisons discipline will catch up with you. “
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