School Feeding Programme releases GH¢ 21m to caterers
The Ghana School Feeding Programme has released GHc 21 million to cater for part of the debt it owes caterers under the school feeding programme.
The money, which was released last week, will cover the first seven days for the first term of the 2016/2017 academic year.
Speaking to Citi News, the Public Relations Officer for Programme, Siba Alfa, also said efforts are being made to make another disbursement next week, to cover an additional sixteen days of the remaining hundred days’ arrears.
“Last week Thursday and Friday, we released seven days of feeding grant to the caterers. The seven days represents part of payment for the first term of 2017/2017 academic year, and we are hoping to make another payment next week Friday, which will be for 16 days, but afterward, we will request for additional funds to be able to clear all the arrears that we owe the caterers,“ he said.
Mr Alfa explained that, in all, the programme has advanced more than 100 days of feeding grants to caterers so far in 2017, which amounts to GHc 140 million.
He said a request has been made to the Minister of Finance for funds to clear all the arrears.
Protests from caterers
In May, scores of caterers under the school feeding programme besieged the premises of the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection, demanding the payment of their arrears.
Some of the caterers said they had not been paid for more than 8 months.
At the time, the National School Feeding Secretariat said it would pay the debt by the end of May.
Payment of the arrears has been seen to be filtering into the caterers with the government recently releasing GHc 10 million to them.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme has been ongoing since 2005, under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme Pillar III, in response to the first and second Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and achieving universal primary education.
The basic idea of the program has been to provide pupils in public basic schools with one hot nutritious meal every day.