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School Feeding Programme Caterers in Ashanti Region Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Arrears

Caterers in the Ashanti region, working under the government’s school feeding programme, are threatening to halt their services for the upcoming academic year if their outstanding arrears are not settled. The caterers are also demanding the agreed payment rate of GH₵1.50 per child.

The caterers were anticipating payment for three academic terms at the rate of GH₵1.50 per child but received payment for only one term, with the amount reflecting GH₵1.15 per pupil instead of the agreed GH₵1.50.

Accusing the Gender Minister, Darkoa Newman, of unfair treatment and unjustified deductions, the caterers urge the government to fulfill its payment promises or face a withdrawal of their services in the next academic year.

In an interview with Citi News, Dorothy Ofori Sarpong, Ashanti regional Secretary for the Progressive School Feeding Caterers Association of Ghana, recalled that the former minister, Hajia Lariba Zuweira, had stated on national television that school feeding caterers demanded GH₵3 per pupil. The government, however, approved GH₵1.50. The current national coordinator, Hajia Safia Mohammed, reiterated this, saying three months ago that the government had approved the GH₵1.50 rate, effective from the first term of September 2023.

Sarpong highlighted that caterers were expecting this rate but discovered they were paid GH₵1.20 per pupil, with an additional 5 pesewas deduction, resulting in GH₵1.15 per pupil. She stressed the need for the remaining 35 pesewas to be paid by the end of the week, noting that some caterers received no payment or were underpaid.

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She also appealed to Vice President and NPP flagbearer Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to intervene, emphasizing that the upcoming election year could be adversely affected by the Gender Ministry’s actions. Sarpong stated that if payments are not made, the caterers will not cook for the next academic year.

“We’re pleading with our incoming President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, that this is an election year. We don’t want a situation where the Gender Ministry will create more problems for him. He should look into the matter… We need our money. We have realized the ministry is not taking us seriously, so we will also not take them seriously. If we are not paid, nobody will cook this year,” Sarpong concluded.

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