School Feeding Programme commences payment to caterers

school-feedingThe Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has commenced the disbursement of arrears owed to its caterers for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Mr Siiba Alfa, the Public Relations Manager, GSFP, said on-going disbursement was the last 17 days of arrears out of 55 working days for the third term of the 2014/2015 academic year.

“We also want to assure our valued caterers that the outstanding 70 days arrears for the first term of the 2015/2016 academic year would be paid within the first week of April 2016,” he said.

Speaking during a press conference on the payment of feeding grants to caterers on Tuesday, Mr Alfa said the programme was liaising with MTN Mobile Money and the Ghana Interbank Payment Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) to ensure prompt disbursement of funds to caterers all over the country.

He said between last year and to the early part of this year, GSFP has paid 64 days out of the 69 days of the second term of 2014/2015, adding that it was left with the payment of five days’ arrears to complete the payment of arrears for the second term of 2014/2015 academic year.

He said the GSFP was also collaborating with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to register every child on the school feeding programme onto the NHIS without a fee and to provide them with a customised Identity Card.

“We have commenced a pilot registration of our beneficiary pupils on the Scheme at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region to enable us to get to know the bottlenecks associated with the system, which needed to be addressed before the nationwide exercise later this year”, he said.

Mr Alfa said currently the GSFP has approximately 1.7 million beneficiary pupils in over 4,800 schools, adding that the Programme has also provided employment to about 20,000 caterers and cooks nationwide.

The GSFP was initiated in 2005 as a social protection intervention to provide disadvantaged school children in deprived communities with one nutritionally adequate and locally produced food each school going day.

This was to help reduce short term hunger and malnutrition among school children, increase attendance and retention, and also to boost domestic food production by sourcing food items locally, thereby improving the local economy.

Source: GNA

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