Education

School Feeding Caterers’ arrears from third term of 2022 academic year to be paid next week – Gender Minister

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The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, has assured that the caterers working under the School Feeding Programme will receive the 2022 academic year third term arrears due them next week.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, she noted that the arrears for the first and second term have been settled adding that the payment process for the third term was delayed as a result of thorough validation and auditing processes to ensure the right funds are distributed to caterers.

“I want to ensure that the auditing and due diligence is done. It takes time because the numbers are voluminous so you need time for the auditors to go through and make sure that every caterer who has cooked has been captured and will be paid. They have to bear with us when their monies are not coming in good time. Certainly, we will pay them and next week we are paying,” she said.

Madam Lariba revealed that the files of about 11,052 caterers have been cleared for payment while 76 are still pending as a result of challenges with their E-Zwich card.

The Minister stated that caterers who did not cook in the third term as a result of various reasons will not be paid.

Madam Lariba added that “the caterers under the programme are paid based on the number of days they cooked within a term. So if we have 67 days and you cook 60, you are going to be paid 60 days. The reports we take form the regions show the number of days caterers cook, so we need to let them know why the payment is not the same.”

This comes after some caterers on the School Feeding Programme, earlier in the week, vowed not to cook for the school children until monies owed them are paid.

The caterers insist they will not be moved by empty promises this time. They are also demanding an increase in the amount paid per child from GH¢1 to GH¢3.50.

However, the Gender Minister says talks to increase the cost of a meal per child are still ongoing adding that the proposal before it currently has an increase from GH¢1 to GH¢1.20.

She assured that her outfit will continue to engage the Finance Ministry to reach a favourable cost for all.

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