SHS food shortage: ¢1.3bn needed to feed free SHS students – Eduwatch

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Africa Education Watch has stated that funding is the major cause of the problems confronting Senior High School education in Ghana.

According to Mr. Kofi Asare, Executive Director for Africa Education Watch, mentioned in an interview with Alfred Ocansey on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show, that food shortage is being experienced in senior high schools now because the disbursement of funds is very slow and irregular. Whenever the disbursement of funds is slow or irregular, the aspect of the free senior high school it affects most is feeding. This is because close to seventy percent of the Free SHS budget is on food.

He said “funding is the only problem; disbursement of approved funds by the ministry of finance is proving very difficult, and that is the reason why we are having this interview. If you look carefully at the free senior high school project, over 2 billion cedi was approved in the budget by Parliament as presented by the ministry of education and finance.”

“As we speak, as a result of the irregular disbursement or slow disbursement, National Buffer Stock which is the agency responsible for coordinating the supply of food owes its suppliers over three hundred million (GHS 300,000,000) cedi, with some of the suppliers being owed as far back as October last year” Mr. Asare said

He explained that owing suppliers for about six months locks up their capital and it becomes very difficult for them to have cash to procure and supply more goods. There is an otherwise effective means to ensure effective distribution of food by the ministry of education and buffer stock but that will also require money.

Mr. Asare said on 3 FM that the ministry of education assured stakeholders during the last shortage that the problem was with the cash flow analysis and projection, and that they had done a more realistic analysis and projection which they have sent to the ministry of finance to follow for prompt disbursement but unfortunately the problem is back barely six weeks after the assurance.

He again asserted that this food shortage at the SHS didn’t start just now, citing that the Upper East CHASS wrote to the GES to alert them even two weeks before the Upper West.

The executive director of Eduwatch revealed that an average of 1.3 billion cedi is spent on food for FSHS every year, so the ministry of finance is to spend about a hundred million cedi (GHS 100,000,000) every month to ensure that suppliers are paid and schools have food to feed their students.

By Samuel Afriyie Owusu|3news.com|Ghana

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