Aggrieved Caterers with School Feeding Programme storms Secretariat over delayed Payment
“We are already in tougher times because, for two good terms, we have not been paid. It is something that is serious; it cannot be stopped, and we don’t understand why, in a time like this where the prices of commodities have tightened up, people’s kids are going to school, everything is on a high note, and we have cooked for two terms.
Scores of aggrieved caterers who worked with the school feeding programme earlier today besieged the premises of the School Feeding Secretariat in Accra over outstanding arrears.
One of the aggrieved caterers told journalists that they want explanation from the government as to why they are facing challenges when it comes to the disbursements of their money or better still pay off their arrears.
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At the reopening of schools last month, Members of the School Feeding Caterers Association threatened to stop cooking if immediate payments of monies owed them are not made and have also demanded an increase in feeding fees.
Speaking on behalf of the Association, a member, Maame Araba Ashun, complained that the caterers make a painstaking effort to feed the students with a balanced meal due to the hikes in the prices of food.
In 2022, the School feeding caterers proposed an increase of the feeding fee from 97 pesewas to 3 Ghana Cedis.
But according to Maame Araba, the government has not responded to their proposal, making the 97 pesewas allocation to each student a day inadequate for them to deliver their mandate effectively.
According to her, the caterers are yet to be paid two terms equivalent to six months’ salary as well, making it uneasy for them to survive.
“We are already in tougher times because, for two good terms, we have not been paid. It is something that is serious; it cannot be stopped, and we don’t understand why, in a time like this where the prices of commodities have tightened up, people’s kids are going to school, everything is on a high note, and we have cooked for two terms. We’re entering the third term, and we have not been paid,” she lamented.
She added that students are expected to be fed a balanced meal, but the government is failing to pay to aid in the preparation of the meals.
She went on to say that all employees at the offices that are supposed to negotiate on their behalf have been paid, excluding them. This, according to her, is not understandable.
When asked whether they had reached out to authorities, she said, “Yes, we have been sending messages across, but up until now, nobody has come to respond to us.”
Since the opening of schools this year, caterers have not been cooking in the various schools as the barn is empty.
The caterers have, therefore, threatened to stop working if they are not paid their arrears.