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There’s no Govt policy compelling SHS not to buy eggs – Buffer Stock CEO clarifies

The National Food Buffer Stock Company Limited (NAFCO) has denied reports that the government has signed a contract with a Chinese company that prohibits senior high schools from purchasing eggs from local suppliers for the schools.

Addressing the press Monday, the CEO of NAFCO, Mr Hanan Abdul-Wahab, discounted the claims of  Kofi Asare, an Executive Director of Africa Education Watch on a purported investigation he made that suggested that senior high schools were not buying eggs under the Free SHS policy.

“The allegations are totally false and should therefore be disregarded,” Abdul-Wahab stated and explained that “As a deliberate policy, government decided to use the Free SHS to support local farmers and the poultry industry” hence it will not cut the intake of eggs by students to the detriment of poultry farmers and suppliers.

“Mackerel and eggs have been part of the National Approved Menu for students since September 2017 when the Free SHS programme started and it remains same till date,” he said ” There has NOT been any policy that compels SHS not to buy eggs.”

Abdul-Wahab further noted, the mackerel and eggs are not mutually exclusive and thus “Schools can buy eggs if they so wish, in addition to the mackerel supplied by NAFCO.”

Below is the statement;

PRESS STATEMENT

The attention of the National Food Buffer Stock Company Limited has been drawn to a widely circulated Facebook Post originally authored by Mr. Kofi Asare, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch on a purported investigation on why Senior High Schools are not buying eggs now as it used to be the case in the period prior to January 2021.

He alleges that “In January this year, an order came from Accra that a certain company (Lamens Ventures) has been contracted by government (don’t forget the free SHS budget was held at the Presidency), to supply imported Chinese mackerel to all SHS in Ghana” and that “Since this company started supplying the China mackerel, many schools started doing one egg a week instead of 3 that was done previously.”

The post further alleged that the supply of mackerel to schools has reduced egg consumption by 70% and created unemployment especially among poultry farmers.

The allegations are totally false and should therefore be disregarded.

The following should clarify the issues:

1. As a deliberate policy, government decided to use the Free SHS to support local farmers and the poultry industry.

2. Food produced in Ghana are to be sourced locally whiles all other food items not locally produced were to be imported by NAFCO Licenced Suppliers at competitive prices and supplied to schools without compromising quality and quantity.

3. Mackerel and eggs have been part of the National Approved Menu for students since September 2017 when the Free SHS programme started and it remains same till date.

4. Government decided that Mackerel be supplied by NAFCO together with 17 other food items, which are described as non-perishable foods such as Cocoa Powder, Vegetable Oil and Mackerel.

5. The schools were mandated to be in charge of the purchase of other items, described as perishables, which includes eggs, fresh fish and vegetables, therefore NAFCO has no role in the purchase of eggs since the schools are enjoined to deal directly with poultry farmers and egg suppliers.

6. Purchases under the perishables are done with a 30% budget given directly to the schools by the Ministry of Education.

7. The purchasing of the 30% quota items are strictly done by the schools with the 30% Grant for the procurement of perishable goods of which eggs are included.

8. There has NOT been any policy that compels SHS not to buy eggs. The mackerel and eggs are NOT mutually exclusive. Schools can buy eggs if they so wish, in addition to the mackerel supplied by NAFCO.

9. It is NOT the case that mackerel was included or introduced in the National Approved Menu in January 2021. It has been part since September 2017.

10. It is NOT true that mackerel replaced eggs in the National Approved Menu, thereby affecting local poultry farmers.

11. Lamens Ventures has been one of our many Licenced Suppliers since the inception of the Free SHS programme in September 2017 and not just emerging as being claimed by Mr. Asare.

12. As a responsible State Agency, we will continue to avail ourselves to any individual or group desirous of appraising themselves on our mandates and operations.

Corporate Affairs Department

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