General News of Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Executive Director of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) S.P. Adamu has conceded that the programme is unable to pay its caterers.
This is largely due to the inability of central government to promptly release funding to enable managers of the programme pay the caterers.
According to Mr. Adamu, “The economic situation in the country has affected the release of grants to the School Feeding Programme”.
As a result, caterers in the various schools have not been paid for the past seven months, Mr. Adamu revealed in an interview on Peace FM on Wednesday.
He said some caterers have threatened to boycott the programme because of the extra burden the lack of funding has put on them.
The School Feeding Programme was introduced in 2005 by the Government of Ghana and the Dutch Government to boost domestic food production and increase school enrolment, attendance and retention among kindergarten and primary school children.
The programme received widespread praise when it was introduced.
However, after 2008, the Dutch government did not release funds for the project due to what it called inappropriate allocations.
Government since its takeover of the programme has faced numerous challenges allocating budgetary funds to it.
Its allocation of 40 pesewas per pupil a day has drawn sneers from critics because 40 pesewas cannot satisfy any nutritional need of a growing child.
An expansion of the programme was expected to cover all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.
This will see a total of 1.7 million pupils representing 38.53 percent of the basic school population receiving a meal per day.
However, the lack of funding, Mr. Adamu says, has prevented the expansion of the programme since the beginning of the year.
He regrets the unfortunate situation and pleaded with the caterers to be patient adding that, they will be settled by the end of next week.