The Government through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department has paid caterers seven in regions their outstanding arrears under the National School Feeding Programme for the third term of 2021 academic year.
The regions are: Savana, Oti, Volta, North East, Bono, Ahafo and Western North.
Mr Alfa Siiba, the Head of Public Relations, Ghana School Feeding Secretariat, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, said payment of the arrears started last week for caterers who had worked for the full 68 working days for the third term of 2021 academic year.
He said the third term 2021 arrears was about GHS 234 million and that the Secretariat was putting together the total arrears for the first term of 2022 academic year.
“The payment is for the first batch of caterers and plans are underway to pay the rest of the regions.We are first paying regions with lower enrolment figures before the higher ones,” he said.
Mr Siiba appealed to the regions with higher enrolment numbers to exercise patience while government facilitated their payment to ensure a peaceful academic environment.
“The priority of the School Feeding Programme is to feed the children. We commend caterers who, in the most difficult situation, were cooking for the students,” he stated.
Touching on proposals for increase in the feeding grant from one cedi to three cedis, Mr Siiba, said it was being considered.
Madam Juliana Cudjoe, the President of the Greater Accra Region School Feeding Caterers Association, in an interview with the GNA, said: “We are home waiting for our turn to be paid before we start cooking. We do not have money and cannot go and borrow again.”
Caterers under the National School Feeding Programme in the Greater Accra Region on Tuesday June 9, 2022, embarked on a protest for the non-payment of feeding grant.
The caterers, in red hand bands, at a press conference, asked the Government to pay all arrears owed them for the 68 working days so they could continue cooking for school children and pay debts from procurement of food stuffs.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme started in 2005 as an initiative of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program Pillar three, which seeks to enhance food security and reduce hunger in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals on hunger, poverty and malnutrition.
The Programme, according to the Gender Ministry, is feeding about 1.69 million children representing 37.4 per cent of national coverage.