Angry caterers with the School Feeding Program are picketing at the Nima private residence of President Akufo-Addo to press home demands for payment for the services that they have rendered.
Clad in red paraphernalia, the caterers thronged the President’s home with mattresses and other domestic accoutrement to enable them sleep over as part of the picketing.
Most of them complain that they have debtors on their neck seeking to exact loans that they contracted to enable them pre-finance the meals that they cooked for the school children.
Generally however, the caterers accuse Gender Minister, Cynthia Mamle Morrison of being the cause of their woes.
“How can I be using my money to cook for other children when my children are starving. My payment has been delayed for one and a half years. They claim there was a mistake in the figures involving my payment,” media reports quotes one aggrieved caterers.
However another is quoted as saying, “It is not the fault of the President. He should sack the minister… She has never convened a meeting with us since she assumed office. Everyone is afraid to call her out for fear of stigmatization.”
It is widely claimed that stalled payment of monies to cover the pre-financing by the caterers may have arisen through system errors on payment platforms such as E-Zwich.
The 2018 report by the Auditor-General revealed several financial irregularities and multiple registrations as well as ghost schools being used as front by some miscreants to collect state money in the name of School Feeding.
These, according to the report, led to huge financial losses to the program.
81 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the management of the programme were cited for the mismanagement of the program.
The report also accused the 81 MMDAs of declaring only GH¢194,383.00 from an amount of GH¢1.09 million purportedly realized from the sale of 21,880 application forms sold to caterers who applied for contracts.
As much as GH¢899,617 from the sale of application forms is unaccounted for and has been outstanding since 2017.