Suppliers threaten to withdraw service to second cycle schools in Upper East
The fate of students in second cycle schools in the Upper East Region hangs in the balance as suppliers of foodstuff and other consumables, stationary and office equipment have threatened to halt services following huge indebtedness to them by the schools.
The heads of second cycle schools would therefore be compelled under the circumstance to close down their schools.
One of the suppliers who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga on condition of anonymity said most suppliers’ businesses are folding up, especially those in the food stuff business.
He said even though suppliers consistently impressed on the heads for payment which has always proved futile, they had come to appreciate that the heads’ hands were tight as government’s response to their needs was weak.
The supplier said schools in the region owed suppliers to the tune of about GH¢5 million and that only 30 per cent payment was made in January to cover part of the first term feeding grants and absorbed fees of the schools.
He questioned why the government was not showing any interest in ensuring that heads sustained the friendship and asked “how can you owe a supplier about GH¢50,000 and only pay GH¢2,000 for more than half a year when indeed first year students are almost about going to their second year”.
The supplier said he wondered why the government failed to give priority to northern schools and said payment of salaries of teachers of secondary schools was just a minute aspect of the overall needs of the schools, adding that as long as most schools remained boarding, the issue about feeding and other administrative logistics could not be ruled out.
The aggrieved supplier appealed to government to as a matter of urgency to attend to the needs of the schools in the region so that heads of schools could also reimburse suppliers to save the situation especially for the sake of the two final year students.
Last month the GNA reported that the Upper East branch of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) was contemplating early closure of second cycle schools for non-payment of bursaries especially feeding grants.
But instead of the early closure, most of the heads were forced to send the students home for mid-term break, a situation which rarely occurs in the region.
Some parents the GNA spoke to in the Bolgatanga Municipality expressed fear that any unfavourable action taken either by the suppliers or the heads could negatively affect the academic performance of the students and appealed to the government to take some affirmative action to get funds for the schools to operate effectively.
Alhaji Razak, a businessman in Bolgatanga, said any action that would lead to closure of the schools would create a huge competitive gap between the students in the Upper East Region and their colleagues elsewhere in West Africa, especially southern Ghana.
“The more their time is wasted the more it affects them academically, so government should look at it the second time and act immediately,” he said.
He said some of the suppliers might have gone in for bank loans, mostly overdrafts and this could have serious consequences for them but added “they are right to be worried but they need to also exercise patience because they also have children in the schools and their actions could affect them as well” Alhaji Razak said.