Government is conducting a “surgical operation” on the ailing school feeding programme it inherited from the previous administration, Deputy Local Government Minister has declared.

According to Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the programme is ‘pregnant’ with lots of irregularities and needs more time to fix.

School children who returned to school from vacation on Tuesday with the hope of enjoying free hot meals under the school feeding programme had their hopes dashed when scuffles ensued between caterers contracted in the erstwhile NPP administration and those contracted under President Mills over who had the rights to prepare the food.

The controversy appeared to be nationwide as Joy FM correspondents from the Central, Upper East, Ashanti, Greater Accra and Western Regions gave different accounts of why the programme failed to live up to expectation on the opening day of school.

Kweku Owusu Peprah reports that some basic school children in the Western Region were served biscuits and packs of chewing gums to ‘alleviate’ their hunger, in the absence of the regular meals supplied them.

In an interview with Joy News’ Bernard Saibu, the Deputy Local Government Minister described the development as “unfortunate” and a “manifestation of lawlessness” by the caterers.

He argued that most of the caterers had no written contracts and were only hired by word of mouth.

Mr. Afriyie cited a PriceWaterHouse report on the School Feeding Programme and another committee report which he said were infested with massive corruption, but chided the previous government for doing very little to solve the problem.

He regretted the discomfort some of the children were going through but said government has to streamline the operation of the policy.

He dismissed assertions that NDC sympathizers will be hired as caterers under what he says will be the new and improved operation of the School Feeding Programme.

Listen to excerpts of the interview with Mr. Elvis Ankrah in the attached audio.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/