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Speaker pays surprise visit to School Feeding Programme Secretariat; backs demand for ¢3 grant per head

Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has shared concerns by School feeding caterers over rising cost of operations and the immediate need for an increase in grants.

There is growing agitation for an increase from the current ¢0.97 per head to ¢3 following the high cost of living to guarantee the quality of food served and the sustenance of the programme but government is yet to address the challenge.

The Speaker’s concern follows a surprise visit to the School Feeding Secretariat and the Buffer Stock Company on Thursday, in the wake of protests over shortages and threats to suspend services by the caterers.

Alban Bagbin explained that the caterers’ demand is necessary regarding the current global economic challenges.

 


“We see that there is a challenge and the challenge is financing. The caterers, as you say, do the pre-financing because of the global economic situation, which has affected Ghana.
“There is the need for an upward adjustment of the amount you give to them. Definitely, ¢0.97 is on the low side, and their demand is justified,” he stated.

The Speaker is, however, not sure if government would be able to meet the ¢3 daily demand by caterers.

The Speaker who paid tribute to the late Major Courage Quarshiga, whose wife currently heads the Secretariat, called on stakeholders, including NGOs, to assist government to sustain the initiative.

“I think it is a very critical initiative. It is a national policy supported nationally by all of us and passed through the various governments.
“We should all put our hands on deck and I will want to assure you that Parliament will do our bit…we will look at how we will support the school feeding secretariat to generate more revenue,” he added.

National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Gertrude Quashigah, assured that the concerns of the caterers are being dealt with.

“The MMDCEs in the Regions called on behalf of the caterers. We rely on government for payment, and so we have assured them, we will always continue to plead with them and to encourage them and then to calm them down and to console them,” she noted.

 

 

She disclosed that her outfit had also received some ¢50 million from Controller and Accountant General to be used for payment for the caterers.
At the National Buffer Stock Company, the Speaker assured that Parliament will ensure funds are available to the organisation to expand its capacity to stock large quantities of food for a rainy day.

“You can see that one of the biggest challenges is funding. It is just not sufficient to give seed money; I think that government will, from time to time, have to come in to provide them with some financial support

“This will keep the prices to the level we usually refer to as affordable and not allow this price escalation. So let us see how we could support this institution, and so I will brief the House,” Bagbin emphasized.

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