Ministry of Education to investigate importation of "China uniforms"

BY: Jasmine Arku
Ms Rita Odoley Sowah, Municipal Chief Executive Officer of the LaDMA, presenting the uniforms to some of the children

The Ministry of Education has said it would launch an investigation into reports that the free school uniforms being distributed to basic school pupils across the country were being procured from China.

According to a Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Ministry has not contracted any Chinese firm to produce the fabrics to be sewn for the purpose of government’s free school uniform intervention.

He said, “The Ministry of Education does not buy fabrics. We are not in the business of procuring fabrics. We just award the contract to contractors to procure the fabrics and sew them locally and distribute them to the various districts.”

Speaking on Accra-based Radio Gold, Mr Ablakwa explained that if there were any school uniforms from China, it could be that the local contractors procured them from China on their own.

The Finder newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Ministry of Education had failed to meet its part of a contractual agreement with Printex Ghana Limited for the production of over 5,000,000 (five million) yards of fabrics for the sewing of school uniforms to be distributed freely to pupils in the basic schools.

According to the report, after Printex Ghana Limited delivered the first consignment of over 3,000,000 (three million) yards of the fabric to government; government has failed to take delivery of the second batch.

This, the paper said, was affecting the fortunes of the company since it had to invest heavily into retooling and procuring machinery for that purpose.

It reported that efforts by Printex Ghana Limited to reach the Ministry of Education over the agreement had proved futile.

However, the Deputy Minister of Education debunked the report saying, “We want to state for the record that the Ministry of Education is not importing fabrics from China. We don’t have an agreement with any Chinese firm or any entity for that matter for buying fabrics.”

“We are not importing fabrics from China. As a Ministry, we do not import fabrics,” he said.

According to Mr Ablakwa, the Ministry gave the contract to local vendors to source for the fabrics on their own.

“We encourage them to buy the fabrics from the local market and we also asked that they sew the fabrics in Ghana so that the local tailors and seamstresses get job to do,” he explained.