Govt to deal drastically with dubious school feeding caterers

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison, has cautioned caterers and people involved in the school feeding programme to desist from inflating figures relating to beneficiaries of the programme.

The government, she stated, would deal drastically with people found to have engaged in dubious deals, saying, “We will ensure that the nation benefits from every cedi”.

She gave the warning on Monday at a dissemination workshop on the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) Cost Benefit Analysis held in Cape Coast.

The workshop which sought to give an assessment of the direct and indirect benefits of the feeding programme was attended by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), caterers, coordinators of the programme and other industry players.

Mrs Morrison stated that, 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 every money spent on the school feeding programme.

According to the minister, currently, it was the office of the Chief of Staff which finalised the validation of services rendered by caterers before final payment was effected by the Ministry of Finance.

Mrs Morrison alluded to the fact that, the school feeding programme should be seen as bringing in the needed return on investment and not a cost burden for the state.

The Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Rukia Yacoub, explained that, the WFP had been supporting the government in the implementation of the school feeding programme since 2006-2007.

She said: “The Cost Benefit Analysis has proven to be very a powerful tool in advocating for school meals and in providing evidence to government that scaling up school feeding will benefit the country both in the short and longer term“.

“The results to date show that for each US$ 1 invested, the return ranges between US$3 to US$ 10 (on average US$)” 5.5 she said.

She noted that, the CBA findings in Ghana indicated that, every cedi invested in school meals for a child yields 33.3 per cent returns or 3.33 cedis with positive impact on education, productivity and health.

Madam Yacoub explained further that, the meeting would discuss the outcomes of the analysis and agree on how best to use the results as advocacy tools for additional support as well as improving the efficiency of the Ghana School Feeding Programme.

The Deputy Central Regional Minister, Anthony Yaw Agyei Baffoe, in his opening remarks, urged the participants to come up with innovative strategies that would enhance the progresses of the school feeding programme.

He noted that, the introduction of the school feeding programme had contributed towards increase in school enrolment in beneficiary schools, but was quick to add that, the concern of authorities should focus on improving quality in the schools.

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