The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo has rebutted claims that the Ghana School Feeding Programme faces imminent collapse.

The minister told Joy News on Thursday that the government is rather keen on sustaining and expanding the pro-poor programme.

“The School Feeding Programme is not on the verge of collapse, the School Feeding Programme has undergone tremendous evaluation and refining, and to the extent that beginning this academic year, the ministry through the School Feeding secretariat is increasing the number of school children who are being fed under the School Feeding Programme from the previous 740,000 to over 1,040,000.”

His assurance follows reports that some caterers in the Upper East region have been asked to stop cooking because government cannot sustain the programme as international partners have withdrawn their support.

Former Upper East Regional Director in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation, Latif Solomon told Joy News that the caterers are being harassed by their creditors. His concern was however, discounted by the region’s Coordinator Akamugri Donatus who said the suspension is just a temporary measure which would last for two weeks, for the programme to be streamlined.

Nevertheless, Minister Ofosu Ampofo maintained that the programme was faced with some challenges when the current handlers took over, citing misplaced priority.

The Minister noted that one of the fundamental reasons for establishing the programme was to increase school enrollment and maintain the children in school.

“But along the line, having evaluated it for some time, the sad realisation is that the School Feeding Programme has rather been concentrated in affluent metropolitan communities instead of the rural deprived communities where malnutrition is very high.”

Mr Ofosu Ampofo stated that donors were not happy with the kind of beneficiaries and therefore pulled out of the programme, overburdening the government with the funding responsibility.

He was, however, hopeful that with the sensitization and re-evaluation with the donors, they (donors) would come on board again.

Nonetheless, a former National Coordinator of the programme, Dr. Amoako-Tuffour seems unconvinced, insisting that the programme is collapsing because the government lacks ideas in managing it.

“It is poor management, they cannot run it, they don’t know how it was started, they don’t know how it was run; and instead of asking, they don’t have the humility to ask, they just bulldozed their way through just like a typical Ghanaian people.”