School Feeding Programme: Caterers Protests Over Unpaid Arrears
A multitude of disgruntled caterers working with the school feeding programme have stormed the premises of the Gender Ministry in Accra as they protest for the non-payment of their outstanding arrears.
On Monday, the women demanded their monies be paid in full by the government else they go on strike.
According to the caterers, the government’s decision to pay them in bits has amassed into debts as they borrowed monies to start the project, which was supposed to be pre-financed.
Government had last week 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.