Prisons To Increase Payment For Prisoners’ Labour
The Uganda Prisons Service has revealed plans to increase the rates of payment for prisoners engaged in labor for private individuals.
According to Commissioner General of Prisons, Johnson Byabashaija, the new rates will take effect in the 2017/2018 financial year if approved in the budget.
While appearing before Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs committee on January 24, 2017 to present the sector’s Budget Framework Paper for the 2017/2018 financial year, Byabashaija revealed that the new payment structure will see prisoners earn more.
While currently, prisoners offering skilled labour are paid Ugx 500 per day, this will be increased to Ugx 1, 398, if approved. Those offering semi-skilled labour have been earning Ugx 250 per day, but will have this increased to Ugx 699. The unskilled labour, who majorly engage in digging, have been receiving Ugx 100 but this will be raised to Ugx 280 per day.
Byabashaija explained that the changes were a response to outcry from Parliament and sections of the public on the little pay given to the prisoners.
“I have already given the proposed rates to the first Parliamentary Council to amend the laws. When this is done, the Minister will sign a statutory instrument to that effect,” Byabashaija told the legislators.
A number of legislators including Francis Zzake, Mityana Municipality, Donozio Kahonda, Ruhinda County MP and chairperson, Judith Nabakooba welcomed the changes in the payments.
They however raised reservations that the money was still meager compared to the hard labour the prisoners endure. The Uganda Prisons has been allocated Ugx 157 billion in the 2017/2018 financial year.
Byabashaija however said the funds are still little, compared to the Ugx 250 billion that they had requested for to run their operations.