Hope for school feeding caterers as government releases funds

National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), Dr Gertrude Quashigah
National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), Dr Gertrude Quashigah

The National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), Dr Gertrude Quashigah has said the government has given approval for funds to be released for the payment of arrears for first term of the 2021 academic year to caterers.

She said the GSFP secretariat had already collated caterers’ data and processed it for payment as soon as the Controller and Accountant General’s Department transfer same to the Bank of Ghana for onward transfer to the Ghana School Feeding accounts.

A statement issued in Accra by the Public Relations Unit of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, on the other hand, has refuted the claim that the government is presently owing caterers of the programme some eight month’s arrears.

According to GSFP, the government is only owing the caterers for the first term of the 2021 academic year.

It said since the second term of the 2021 academic year is still in progress, it will be impracticable for the government to release funds to pay the caterers before their data is compiled and submitted by their regional coordinators.

The statement explained that the normal contractual agreement between the caterers and the government is that cooking services are supposed to be pre-financed by the caterers for at least a whole academic term.

Thereafter, the caterers would receive payment of their arrears of the previous term at least before the commencement or in the course of another term.

The statement is in reaction to information in a section of the media by some caterers which sought to create public disaffection for the social intervention programme.

According to some of the caterers, the government is owing them for eight months without any attempt to settle them.

“The truth is the second term is still in progress and so it cannot be said that we owe the caterers for eight months. However, we apologise to all caterers for the delay in the payment of their first term arrears and assure them that they will soon receive payment,” the statement said.

“The government has done very well to settle all arrears of caterers in the 1st and 2nd terms of 2019/2020 academic year amounting to some 117 cooking days. The caterers did not cook in the third term of 2019/2020 academic year due to COVID-19.”

Nevertheless, there are a few isolated cases of caterers who did not receive their 2019/2020 arrears in full including some of the caterers of the JHS hot meal due to some challenges. But those challenges, the statement, indicated are being addressed to ensure that all affected caterers receive their remaining money.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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