The African Education Watch (EduWatch), a policy think tank, has expressed its dissatisfaction over the government’s inability to address the shortage of food supply faced by second-cycle institutions.
According to EduWatch, the government’s inability to tell Ghanaians practical
mechanisms put in place to address the perennial food shortage during the immediate 2022 Mid-Year Budget Review presentation in Parliament was worrying.
This was in a statement signed by Mr. Kofi Asare, the Executive Director and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tema.
“In Section 60 of the budget, the Minister of Finance submits that, we are aware of reported challenges in accessing and transporting food for students in SHS and we are fixing it,” the statement said.
The statement added that in an engagement with stakeholders, it was established by the Ministry of Education that the food shortage was caused by inflation.
According to EduWatch, it was in addition to a widely acknowledged fact that the shortage in food supplies to SHS was due to the accumulated debt of GHC340 million owed food suppliers with some dating back to 2021.
The statement revealed that due to this, food suppliers were simply not motivated to continue supplying until their arrears were settled.
“Surprisingly, the Minister of Finance did not mention a single intervention being put in place to resolve the poor disbursement of approved funds for feeding under the Free SHS programme, and how it intends to mitigate the inflationary effect on prices,” it noted.
EduWatch, therefore, called for details on specific strategies being deployed by
the Minister of Finance to ensure that GHC340 million arrears were cleared in the short term.
It also urged the finance minister to ensure prompt disbursement of funds for uninterrupted food supply and mitigate inflationary impacts on the free SHS food budget.
Eduwatch, therefore, called for closer and wider collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and Education towards the management and reporting of Free SHS and education expenditure to ensure public accountability.