Gov’t Owes School Feeding Caterers GH¢101 Million

Nii Lantey Vanderpuye,
The Deputy Minister for local Government and rural Development, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, revealed in Parliament on Wednesday that the government owes an amount of Gh¢101 million to caterers on the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP).

This figure covers 76 school days this year.
Providing an answer to a question posed on the floor of Parliament by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, as to when the ministry would settle its indebtedness to the caterers, the Deputy Minister said government has already paid GH¢147 million to the caterers for the 2013/14 academic year, adding that the GH¢101 million is the outstanding arrears.

The Deputy Minister told Parliament that currently the ministry is in negotiations with its development partners to raise money to settle the outstanding debt.

“We are a bit constrained because the School Feeding is funded from the District Assembly Common Fund at the district level; and now the Common Fund is also in arrears,” he said, stressing that it is because government attaches importance to the sustenance of the programme that the ministry is engaging its development partners to secure funds to sustain the programme.

According to him, the School Feeding Programme, which now covers 1.7 million pupils across the country, has helped in increasing the enrolment of children of school going age.

“The programme was initially covering 500,000 pupils but now it is covering 1.7 million school children,” he disclosed.

In response to a follow-up question as to whether the current indebtedness would not compel the caterers to provide food of poor quality to the school children, the Deputy Minister said the ministry has monitoring teams both at the district and national levels who monitor the quality of food provided, stating that if it is found out that a caterer is compromising on the quality of food provided, her contract is immediately terminated.

BY Thomas Fosu Jnr

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