11 October 2017

Rwanda: Government Moves to Make Prisons Self-Reliant

Photo: Faustin Niyigena/New Times
Road construction is one of the activities that inmates are involved in. Each participant gets 10 per cent of income of the total revenues.

The Ministry of Justice is considering sustainable strategies to build self-reliance in prisons financing, by increasing internally generated income at correctional facilities.

It is envisaged that increasing internally generated income at prisons would gradually reduce and eventually end their (prisons) dependence on public budget, according to Isabelle Kalihangabo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice.

PS Kalihangabo was on Monday touring projects by Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) to ensure better welfare for inmates from different prisons across the country.

She visited Muhabura Multi Choice Ltd, a local investment company that deals in agribusiness and assorted services, which was created to help ensure financial sustainability of RCS.

The company, that uses inmates in some of its services, has its headquarters in Kimironko, Gasabo District.

"We need to build self-reliance in prisons by leveraging inmates' skills to make them productive instead of costing the public. Different profitable projects should be undertaken by inmates to ensure that, in the future, the RCS will sustain itself," she said.

"It's also kind of rehabilitation among inmates to help them prepare life after the prison, thanks to the skills acquired from different projects implementation."

During this fiscal year, government earmarked Rwf14 billion toward RCS and part of the funds will go toward boosting profitability of income-generating projects by RCS, mainly in agribusiness, construction, farming, carpentry and tailoring.

Last financial year, RCS generated over Rwf400 million from these activities, according to officials.

Kalihangabo said inmates have started benefiting from the projects, explaining that they are allocated a portion of proceeds from their activities, which is given to them to help them begin a new life once they are released.

Muhabura Multi Choice Ltd was established by government as a business-oriented company to expand, maintain and enhance the efficiency of production activities that were formerly implemented by RCS.

The company was also created to help check high prices of foodstuff and other supplies to prisons.

Maj Schadrack Nkurikiyumukiza, the company managing director, said making prisons self-reliant is achievable as long as their projects are run within the five-year strategic plan.

"I am confident that by the end of the strategic plan 2017-2022, we will have a big market, with the capacity to supply all prisons in the country," he said.

The company is currently supplying Rwamagana and Bugesera prisons in Eastern Province, as well as Muhazi TIG centre.

It has several profitable activities in the pipeline, Nkurikiyumukiza said.

Since January, government has injected Rwf537 million in production projects within the ambit of the company. The activities include soap making, agribusiness and carpentry.

The company targets to generate at least Rwf4 billion from its projects from the projected investments of Rwf924 million in the next five years.

RCS spokesperson Hilary Sengabo said the feasibility of the plan will depend on the Government's collaboration in the projects implementation through Muhabura Multi-Choice Ltd.

PS Kalihangabo will tour other projects managed by prisons across the country.


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