THE Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison on Monday, warned caterers and people involved in the School Feeding Programme to desist from inflating figures of beneficiaries of the programme.
“Desist from inflating figures of beneficiaries because the government will deal drastically with people found to have engaged in such dubious deals,” she said.
The minister gave the warning at a dissemination workshop on the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) Cost Benefit Analysis held in Cape Coast.
The workshop was held to assess the direct and indirect benefits of the feeding programme. It was attended by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), caterers, coordinators of the programme and other stakeholders.
According to Mrs Morrison, the government would not accept any form of leakage in terms of payment of money to caterers and expressed the commitment of the ministry to ensure that the nation benefitted from monies spent on the school feeding programme.
The Ghanaian Times is glad that the minister has touched on this matter which has been lingering on the minds of most people in the country.
As a matter of fact, cheating by some caterers of the school feeding programme is a well known practice and the media have reported on it on many occasions.
The minister’s warning is timely and appropriate to deter the dubious caterers, particularly those who inflate figures of beneficiaries for their parochial benefit.
The dubious practices are not only affecting the children but preventing the nation from getting the necessary returns on the investments made by the government.
It is well known, that the School Feeding Programme is a social intervention programme introduced in Ghana, as a safety net for children, especially those in public schools.
Evidence has shown that the programme has led to increase in enrolment and improved the health of children from poor backgrounds.
Unfortunately, the programme has been clogged by inflation of numbers, sub-standard food and delays in payment for work done by the caterers.
Although there may be genuine challenges facing the programme, our concern is for all the bottlenecks to be removed so that the programme would be implemented smoothly.
We strongly back the minister in warning the caterers who are not only cheating the system, but putting the future of the children at risk.
We encourage the government to deal drastically with those who would be found liable to serve as a deterrent to others.
In fact, school feeding has education, health, agriculture and nutrition as well as community objectives and must not be allowed to be destroyed by a few self seeking individuals.
It is our collective responsibility to protect it for the benefit of our children and the entire nation.