It has been a chaotic few days for the school feeding programme in the Ashanti Region.
Unhappy about outstanding payments stretching back to three months in some cases, the caterers have been agitating mood this week.
On March 20, aggrieved caterers in charge of school feeding in the Ashanti region besieged the regional secretariat demanding their arrears spanning nine months.
The caterers also demanded an increment of the feeding grant which currently, stands at 97 pesewas per head. The caterers want it reviewed to GHS3.
As of March 27, the first tranche of outstanding debt has been cleared by the government.
However, the feeding grant remains same.
“We have lamented a lot, it didn’t get anywhere. They owe us three terms, they only paid one and even that they didn’t pay the full amount” Dorothy Ofori-Sarpong, an aggrieved caterer told 3news.com Benjamin Aidoo
Protestations led them to the premises of the regional minister’s office but Simon Osei Mensah was having none of that
The minister snubbed the agitating women
Now that angered the caterers even more who say they have withdrawn their services with immediate effect
“We will not cook until we hear something positive from the government” a caterer fumed
This could mean significant feeding problems for many schools in the region. The school feeding programme was introduced in the erstwhile President Kufour’s administration to check truancy and enhance equitable education.
Recent development threatens the rationale of the programme.
It is unlikely the strike will force the regional minister into rethinking his stance.
He says while he sympathizes with the caterers over the delay in payment, he completely disagrees with their mode of protest
“I sympathize with them…but we should not use illegality to solve problems,” Simon Osei-Mensah said in an interview.
In the meantime with things deadlocked, many children could go hungry during school hours.