Members of the School Feeding Caterers Association have decided to boycott cooking services, effective Monday, May 16, over what they have described as an inadequate school feeding grant.

They have vowed not to cook until government increases the current feeding grant from ¢0.97 to ¢3 per child,

School children who are beneficiaries of the School Feeding Programme will not be fed until the outstanding issues are resolved.

Chairperson of the Association, Juliana Cudjoe, told JoyNews that they are making huge losses from cooking hot meals for the children at the current price allocation.

Given the current economic challenges, she stressed that the current allocation of ¢0.97 is insufficient to provide good school children services.

According to her, they have literally been doing magic to survive in their business.

“We are not going to cook until we hear something from them. We need our payment, and we want an increment too. So, we will not cook on Monday,” she said.

Meanwhile, the School Feeding Secretariat has promised to look into their concerns and has invited the leadership of the Association to a meeting on Monday.

“They have made their demands. So, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the School Feeding management will develop a comprehensive statement on that.”

This new development comes after the management of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) announced last week that the resumption of cooking services in all beneficiary schools will begin on May 16.

A notice issued on May 9, added that the caterers would be paid the third term of the 2021 academic year and other arrears in due course.

School feeding caterers to embark on strike over demand for ¢3 feeding grant

Addressing Parliament on March 2, 2022, the caretaker Gender Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, announced the suspension of the Programme to allow debts owed to caterers to be cleared.

 “Mr Speaker, currently the expansion of the programme is on hold. However, we are clearing all arrears of caterers and putting measures to ensure effective and efficient service delivery to all beneficiary schools and the caterers.

“We are also putting in place a management information system to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the system. We shall surely inform this august House when we are ready to expand the programme to cover additional schools,” she said.

In December last year, the Minister reassured us that the remaining arrears owed to the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) caterers would soon be settled.

She noted that all the necessary data and figures had been worked on and submitted to the Controller and Accountant General for the release of funds to pay the caterers.

Mrs Dapaah said this when answering questions at the Ministry of Gender’s turn at the Meet the Press series in Accra on December 5, 2021.

“When it comes to the School Feeding payment – we have the last lot of arrears to pay. However, we know the figure we’ve put in, and it’s at the Controller…so we hope to get it very soon,” she noted.

Also, during a tour in the Western Region in September last year, President Akufo-Addo, disclosed that the Ministry of Finance had released a sum of GH₵31million to settle arrears owed to school feeding caterers in the country.

“I am happy to announce that caterers have made payments in all the regions. Indeed, caterers in the Western and Western North were not paid due to insufficient funds.

“That has been resolved. The Ministry of Finance has released ¢31 million cedis for the payment of caterers,” he stated.

When the President made the revelation, the Ghana National School Feeding Caterers Association (GNSFCA) had appealed to the government to increase the feeding fees by 50%. Thus, from ¢1.00 to GH¢1.50.

They said the current amount could not cater for much under the prevailing economy.