School Feeding caterers storm Gender Ministry over unpaid debts
Published on : Oct. 24, 2017
Scores of aggrieved caterers working with the school feeding programme have besieged the premises of the Gender ministry in Accra as they demonstrate to demand the payment of their outstanding arrears.
On Monday, the women threatened to demonstrate if their monies were not paid in full by the Akufo-Addo government.
The caterers claim the government’s decision to pay them in tranches is engulfing them in debts as they borrowed monies to start the project, which was supposed to be pre-financed
Last week, government released GHC21 million to cater for seven days out of the over 100 days it owes the caterers even though the sector minister Otiko Djaba had promised the entire debt will be cleared by last September.
Spokesperson for the feeding programme Siba Alfa told Starr News arrangement is being made for the payment of additional 16 days to the caterers.
The Gender minister Otiko Djaba has given the assurance that efforts are being made by government to pay the outstanding debts owed the women, whose contracts have been terminated since May this year.
Meanwhile, about four auxiliary organizations including the World Food Programme have suspended support for the Northern Regional Secretariat of the School feeding programme following raging controversies that have bedevilled the programme since the change of government.
The World Food Programme, an integral partner which provides meals for some selected schools in the region, The Hershey company, which also provided Vivi snacks to beneficiaries of the programme and S. M. D., a company that provides financial support to caterers have all stopped supporting the programme, Gafaru Abdul Haruna a former Zonal coordinator told Starr News.
Gafaru said another company which provided a micronutrients powder to school pupils under the programme also pulled out following the hostile stance of authorities of the programme.
The outflow of these organizations seen by many as major setback for the programme in the region was triggered by the confusion between regional party members and national leadership over some appointments made into the programme.
The former zonal coordinator disclosed this after some youth group affiliated to the NPP locked up the office of the secretariat and refused to allow monitors of the programme to carry out duties following a frosty relationship between the Regional coordinator and the Minister for Gender.