The Ghana National School Feeding Caterers Association has called for a 50 per cent increment in the feeding grant of students under the school feeding programme.
According to the association, the current GH¢1 per student was woefully inadequate to meet the cost of goods and services, hence the need to increase it to GH¢1.50.
The Public Relations Officer of the association, Mrs Caroline Ewusi, who made the call at a press conference in Accra yesterday, noted that although the ongoing stakeholder engagement had not settled on the percentage increment, it believed that the 50 per cent would go a long way to alleviate the challenge caterers were going through, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wish to encourage our hardworking minister to put in a lot more effort to make sure that the second term payment is made on time and, more importantly, an increment from GH¢1 to GH¢1.50.
“We the caterers are very much concerned about the welfare of our members and the said payment will go a long way to help them,” she said.
Last Tuesday, the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) said it had made proposals to the government to consider increasing the feeding grant per student to an appreciable amount.
It expressed the hope that the government would consider the proposal, taking into consideration the current economic situation.
“We have sent a proposal to the government to consider increasing the feeding grant to an appreciable level. It used to be 80Gp, but in 2018 the government increased it to GH¢1 per student per day. We have sent another proposal for the government to consider adjusting the feeding grant upwards,” the Public Relations Officer of the GSFP, Mr Siiba Alfa, had told the Daily Graphic.
He, therefore, asked the caterers to be patient, as steps had been taken to get the feeding grant adjusted upwards.
“The government knows the economic situation we are in,” he said, and admitted that “from the GH¢1 we take tax of 30Gp and the caterers are left with 97Gp”.
Mrs Ewusi extended the association’s warmest appreciation to the President, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Adwoa Safo, for their timely intervention in settling the first term arrears for the caterers.
She indicated that the intervention had brought relief to all caterers across the country.
“Madam Minister, we say your motherhood role in dealing with the welfare of caterers is an inspiration to all of us. We acknowledge the smooth running of the current payment, despite the few challenges with mismatch, faulty ezwich and non-payment in the Western and Western North regions, which we are hopeful will be resolved soon,” she said.
Mrs Ewusi said the association could not overlook the tremendous contribution by the national secretariat of the GSFP, led by the National Coordinator, Mrs Gertrude Quashigah.
“In fact, having two mothers at the helm of affairs is fulfilling,” she said, adding that “the technical support from the Chief Director of the ministry, Dr Afisah Zakaria, was also very pivotal for the above success.
She said there was only one caterers association registered at the Registrar-General’s Department and recognised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the National Secretariat of the GSFP.
She pleaded with caterers to be cautious of people carrying themselves as promoters of an association and taking money from them.
“We also advise caterers to work hand-in-hand with the desk officers at the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and zonal coordinators in the various zones to ensure that their data were submitted on time to ensure smooth processing,” she said.
Asked about the threat by some members not to cook next week when schools reopened, she said: “We will go and cook for the students because the government has not breached any agreement with our members.”
Mrs Ewusi appealed to members who had challenges with their ezwich accounts to endeavour to get them addressed for their prompt payment.
She said a request by a section of the members for the increase in the feeding grant from GH¢1 to GH¢3 was not attainable in view of the problem posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that public sector workers could not even get 20 per cent salary increment because of economic challenges due to COVID-19 and the various interventions and initiatives being put in place to alleviate the plight of Ghanaians.
Mrs Ewusi said the government deserved to be commended for all it was doing for the transformation of the country, in spite of COVID-19.