The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba, has disclosed that, government has allocated GHC114 million to offset all arrears owed caterers under the school feeding programme.
Addressing women and vulnerable groups in Bolgatanga during a familiarization tour of the Upper East Region, Afisah Djaba was optimistic of government’s commitment to settling all its debts.
“Concerning the caterers’ arrears, the previous NDC administration owed school feeding for 75 cooking days, we didn’t complain; but the NPP government has made provision for GHC114 million to pay the arrears, also for this year, GHC200 million has been set aside for the school feeding programme.
“…So for caterers that we owe, government will certainly pay you; but it will not be immediate because the processes have to go through. So I am pleading to all caterers we owe that, the processes have started; and we will work on it as soon as possible to ensure that, those who did not cook for the 75 days we will deduct your monies and those who cooked throughout the 75 days, we will pay off your arrears. we are doing this to ensure value for money.”
Madam Djaba also hinted that, the contracts of the caterers with government under the school feeding programme, will come to an end in July 2017, and that government will advertise for interested persons to apply.
She also said that, foods grown under government’s Planting for food and Jobs programs will be prioritized to feed pupils under the programme.
Madam Djaba said the initiative will boost the morale of women and small holder farmers, and the since there will be ready market for their produce under the programme, it will reduce poverty in Northern Ghana.
Meanwhile, some caterers who spoke to Citi News, expressed worry about the politicization of the school feeding programme, adding that, they may not be considered, since they were perceived to belong to the opposition NDC.
They also added that, if government does not fast track the payment of their arrears, some may not be able to cook when schools reopen on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Madam Djaba added that, 50 percent of MASLOC will be dedicated to women empowerment, whiles 30 percent of government initiatives will be targeted at women.