Government urged to address delays in paying school feeding caterers
Mrs Getrude O. Ananse-Baiden, Programmes Manager for the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) Ghana, has appealed to government to address the delays in payment to caterers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP).
Speaking at the third Learning Event of the Ghana School Feeding Programme in Accra, she said the delay in payment is a big challenge to caterers as it impacts negatively on the School Feeding Programme.
The event was jointly organized by the Netherlands Development Organization, Partnership for Child Development, the World Food Programme (WFP) and AGRA’s Market Innovations for Development Project, in collaboration with the GSFP and the Ministry of Gender, Children Social Protection (MoGCSP).
The two-day event on the theme: “Revitalizing GSFP for improved productive inclusion: now and the future” brought together key stakeholders of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, including government officials and other development partners.
Mrs Ananse-Baiden said “if caterers are not paid on time, they wouldn’t be able to buy from the small holder farmers as expected and this will derail efforts in linking local agriculture to the feeding programme.”
She said as a result of the delay, some caterers are compromising on the quality and quantity of food given to the children.
Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection said, the feeding programme developed with financial support from PCD and WFP would be submitted to cabinet before the end of the year and that other interventions are being put in place to enhance the nutritional quality of the meals.
She said next year all children benefiting from the GSFP would be enlisted on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), free of charge.
Other issues highlighted during the learning event included the new caterer procurement guidelines, handy measures for cooking and serving, developed with the support of the Dutch development organization SNV and PCD respectively; and the new electronic system of payment for caterers currently being implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.