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“Free SHS” foodstuff suppliers threaten to withdraw services over delayed payments

Senior High Schools across Ghana could run out of foodstuff as suppliers threaten to withdraw services over delayed payments

Suppliers of foodstuff to the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) for onward supply to Senior High Schools across the country are threatening to withdraw their services over delayed payment for nearly three months.

NAFCO, traditionally receives all the items from its suppliers on behalf of the Ministry of Education for distribution to all Senior High Schools in the country. Upon delivery, invoices are processed and the suppliers are expected to be paid within 60 days. However, the NAFCO suppliers say they have not received payments for foodstuff supplied 90 days ago.

“We have not received any payments from Buffer Stock almost 90 days now and our members are really struggling. Some secured loans to be able to meet the supply demands of Buffer Stock and the schools and the delay in the payment is really messing up their businesses and their ability to plan,” some of the suppliers told Asaase News on condition of anonymity.

Teachers’ unions

On 11 March 2021, teachers’ unions in the country petitioned government and all stakeholders in the education sub-sector in a statement to ensure the timely supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company to various Senior High Schools in the country.

According to the unions, since President Akufo-Addo reopened schools after the 10-month break due to COVID-19 pandemic, schools have not received any funds from the Education Ministry to run their various institutions.

The teachers’ unions are; Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana (CCT-GH).

Critical situation

They indicated that “the situation at the SHSs is critical and has brought the SHSs on their knees as a result of the delays in releasing the Government of Ghana (GOG) funds, non-supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company and compounded by the early reporting at school at the beginning of each term, compared to the period preceding the Free SHS, now students no longer have to wait for school fees to be provided them before reporting to school.”

“It is unfortunate, heartbreaking and disturbing that the schools have to look for funds elsewhere to cater for the SHS students until funds are disbursed from the Ministry of Education,” the statement of the teacher unions noted.

The unions further threatened that should the situation remain the same by Friday 19 March 2021, they will be forced to take further action to register their displeasure.

Source: asaaseradio

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