The government has given approval for funds to be released for the payment of arrears for caterers under the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP).
The National Coordinator, Dr Mrs Gertrude Quashigah, has explained the payment will cater for the 1st term of the 2021 academic year.
According to her, the National Secretariat of GSFP has already collated caterers’ data and processed it for payment as soon as the Controller and Accountant General’s Department transfers same to Bank of Ghana for onward transfer to the Ghana School Feeding accounts.
This comes on the back of claims that the caterers are owed some eight months arrears, which the Public Relations Unit in Accra has dismissed.
“The statement is in reaction to some misinformation being churned out by some caterers in the media which sought to create public disaffection for the social intervention programme,” part of the statement read.
According to GSFP, the only arrears is for the 1st term of the 2021 academic year of which processes are ongoing to effect payment as soon as possible.
“Since the 2nd term of this 2021 academic year is still in progress [not ended], thus, it will be impracticable for the government to release funds to pay the caterers before their data is compiled and submitted by their Regional Coordinators,” the statement added.
The statement explained that the normal contractual agreement between the caterers and the government is that cooking services are supposed to be pre-financed by the caterers for at least a whole academic term.
Thereafter, the caterers would receive payment of their arrears of the previous term at least before the commencement or in the course of another term.
GSFP has, however, apologised to all caterers for the delay in the payment of their 1st term arrears and assure them that they will soon receive payment.
“The government has done very well to settle all arrears of caterers in the 1st and 2nd terms of 2019/2020 academic year amounting to some 117 cooking days. The caterers did not cook in the third term of 2019/2020 academic year due to COVID-19.
“Nevertheless, there are a few isolated cases of caterers who did not receive their 2019/2020 arrears in full including some of the caterers of the JHS hot meal due to some challenges. But those challenges are being addressed to ensure that all affected caterers receive their remaining money,” the outfit noted.