The Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, has launched a skills and Entrepreneurship training programme dubbed “Entrepreneurship for Restoration”.

The initiative is a collaboration between the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) and the Ghana Prisons Service to provide skills in various Light manufacturing areas and Entrepreneurship to 1,240 Prisons officers and Inmates and to provide Starter packs and kits they will use for production.

NEIP will also provide grants and loans as Working Capital for officers who have been trained for them to be able to set up these businesses properly and working Capital to inmates for their set up, upon their discharge from the Prisons. The Grants and loans will be provided under Youth in Innovative Agric disbursement for those who did fruit juice processing and the Presidential Startup support and Youstart for the other products.

The Light manufacturing areas for the training includes Soap and detergents making ( i.e bar soaps, shower gels, liquid soaps, medicated soaps, afterwash etc), grains and cereals processing and packaging (for products like tom brown, rice soy, millet/sorghum mix, weetabix,etc ) juice processing and packaging from all our local fruits, nuts tubers and legumes processing and packaging (like groundnut paste, chocolate spread etc ), Production of local nonalcoholic drinks like Sobolo, Asana, atadwe ginger drink, lamuji, saamea etc, Production of youghurt and edible oils from palm oil and coconut oil, and cosmetics making (various body lotions and creams).

Launching the Programme, Hon. Dery expressed his excitement that the programme will spell the “beginning of a life changing journey in the lives of the fifteen thousand (15,000) young inmates in the country’s prisons”. . 82% of inmates in Ghana’s prisons are youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years. He observed that on a broader scale the beneficiaries of the programme will be contributing to the longer-term strategic vision of consolidating our middle-income status and further build an industry driven economy.

Speaking at the same event, the Deputy Minister in charge of Wealth Creation at the Finance Ministry, Hon. Dr. John Ampontuah Kumah said the collaboration between the NEIP and the Ghana Prisons Service aligns perfectly with the national agenda of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. Hon. Kumah said the government recognises that entrepreneurship is a powerful tool for economic growth, job creation, and social transformation.

By providing officers and inmates with the tools and knowledge to start their own businesses, we are unlocking their potential to become self-reliant and contribute to the development of Nation.

Hon. John Kumah stated further that our prisons should not only be institutions of punishment, but also spaces for rehabilitation, redemption and restoration. By empowering inmates with vocational skills and entrepreneurial knowledge, we are not only equipping inmates for a brighter future, but also fostering their re-integration into society as productive citizens, he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah alerted the gathering to the samples of items produced by the inmates which were displayed for viewing of the general public. Mr. Ofosu Nkansah said the NEIP will be collaborating with regulatory bodies such as Ghana Standards Authority and Food & Drugs Authority to approve the products for the Market.

Looking at the products displayed, Mr. Ofosu Nkansah continued, “it will not be out of place to call our Prisons Mini factories, which are producing fast moving consumer goods now. The Programme will help contribute to Government’s overall import substitution programme where we are able to replace imported products with locally produced ones which have Made in Ghana labels on them”.

Apart from the Programme contributing to the macro level objectives of the country, Mr. Ofosu Nkansah said the micro environment of the prisons and the inmates themselves will be greatly enhanced. He said the soaps and detergents produced will help improve on the hygiene and wellbeing of inmates, help reduce diseases and skin rashes, while the various food and drink products will help improve on the diets of inmates and help improve their overall health. It will also help reduce the resources Government spends to provide detergents and food products to inmates. Economically, the Prisons will also generate some funds from the sale of the packaged products.

The Director General of the Ghana Prisons Service, MR I.K Egyir on his part, charged his officers participating in the training to take it seriously so they can also transfer knowledge to other inmates yet to benefit from it.