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School feeding caterers in Ashanti Region withdraw services over unpaid arrears

Caterers on the School Feeding Programme in Ashanti Region have withdrawn their services over unpaid arrears.

The decision comes a day before the reopening of basic schools across the country.

The caterers are expecting arrears for the third term in the previous academic year to be paid before they resume work.

They have threatened to throw away the meals cooked by colleagues who may go contrary to the decision.

“Our reason is simple, during Covid-19, we cooked but government didn’t make full payment. We have been complaining since but to no avail. Currently, we’ve cooked for students for three terms and they have still not made full payment,” she said.

“Meanwhile, we all testify to how food prices shot up last year, yet government has not reviewed the cost per child. They are still paying ¢0.97 per child and in all that they are not paying in full.

“So now we can’t cook anymore, we are demanding that third-term payment before we cook otherwise as school reopens tomorrow, nobody is going to cook.”

One caterer commended their former bosses for their transparency and accountability.

She said that their former bosses were communicating with them even when they were incapable of paying the full amount.

“We really miss Otiko Afigya, when she was there, she can pay for 40 days and communicate with us that she will pay the remaining 10 or 15 days so everybody will know that school feeding is owing us 15 days,” the aggrieved caters told OTECNEWS.

“But since Cynthia Morrison and the others took over, no one has been giving us any update, they only pay the number of days they want to pay, period,” she said.

The caterers disclosed that this unpaid arrears has led to severe hardship and some of her colleagues have lost their lives due to the difficulties.

“A number of people are now dead, some have a stroke, pressure and so on, now we are owing our bankers, indebtedness, we cannot even count the number of challenges,” she lamented.

The caterers are also calling for an increase in the feeding grant from 97 pesewas to three cedis per child.

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