Government clears last year’s debt to caterers

Nana Oye Lithur - Minister of Gender
Nana Oye Lithur – Minister of Gender

The Government has paid GH¢188,307,266 to caterers under the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), thus clearing its indebtedness for the 2014/2015 Academic Year.

The arrears for 2015/2016 academic year would soon be paid, Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, announced this.

Speaking at her Ministry’s turn at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra, the Minister said, the GSFP continued to serve 1.7 million pupils with one hot nutritious meal every school day.

Nana Oye Lithur noted that since the Government took over the operations of the GSFP, it had saved GH¢24 million on every payment made per term.

She announced that the Government intended to increase the number of pupils under the programme from 1.7 million to three million in 2017.

“We have developed systems to verify enrollment of pupils and address non-cooking and purchase biometric equipment for registration of pupils.

“We are implementing new Caterer Contracting and Procurement Guidelines and sensitisation of the public on the Guidelines completed and we are currently implementing an independent operational assessment of the GSFP with support from UNICEF, World Bank, WFP in May 2016,” she said.

Under the support, local farmers are linked to GSFP to roll out the Agricultural Model.

So far, 10,913 farmers have been linked to the programme to market their local farm produce.

Nana Oye Lithur also announced the implementation of the Electronic Payment System for the 5,370 caterers nationwide, and the creation of 10 Regional database disaggregated by district, school, enrollment figures and caterers to ensure financial management and transparency under the programme.

On the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP), the Minster said all arrears were paid off to the beneficiaries in 2014.

She said the Ministry had embarked on consistent payment from November 2013 to August 2016.

She noted that the LEAP Grant had increased by 22 per cent from an average of GH¢36 to GH¢44; adding that, the programme had also migrated from manual payment to electronic to ensure efficiency and transparency.

The Minister said Social Protection increased from a base of 71,936 households in 100 districts in 2013, to 213,843 households in 216 districts in August 2016, representing an increment of 196 per cent.

“The 44th payment is being made to 213,843 beneficiary households in 216 districts and 6,236 communities on the Programme’s register.

The 213,843 households translate into 855,372 individual beneficiaries,” she explained.

LEAP Emergency grant, she said, was extended to 625 affected persons in the Nsawam-Adoagyiri dynamite explosion and Abompe farms fire disasters.

Source: GNA

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