Caterers under the Ghana School Feeding Programme have rejected the proposed GH¢1.20 increment put forth by the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu.
The caterers who are on strike say the proposed increase is insufficient and they ‘can’t cook any better food for the children with it.’
Their response comes after Lariba Zuweira Abudu addressing a press conference on Sunday assured that the caterers will receive the 2022 academic year third term arrears due them this week.
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.
But, Dorothy Ofori Sarpong, the spokesperson for the caterers in the Ashanti Region has expressed dissatisfaction with the Minister’s response to their concerns.
“We are not going to cook, we are still on strike, though the Minister has spoken. What she came to say wasn’t to our satisfaction. The arrears that she claimed has been cleared with the exception of the 2022 third term are not so. There are arrears as far back as 2019, 2020, and 2021…so if she is saying all arrears have been paid, it is not so.
“With the amount of GH¢1.20 proposal, we are not going to agree. We cannot use this to cook any better food for the children, and so we pray that she goes back and come and tell us something better.”
Since the reopening of schools, the caterers have withdrawn their services and are demanding that the government raise the daily amount per child and settle outstanding arrears.
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.