Western Region Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme Abena Kwallah has stated that caterers should by now be familiar with how payment is made under the Programme, stressing that nothing has changed and “so [they] should exercise patience when there is a delay”.
“They are aware that, if you cook for two terms, you are paid for one term. We know that by August schools will vacate. If anyone has not been paid, it will be for the first term. So, I'm confident that payment for the first term will be paid before vacation. So, they should be patient as we are working assiduously to clear any outstanding.”
Scores of caterers in the Western Region have complained that payment under the Programme unduly delays.
They lament that they have to remonstrate amidst threats that they will not cook before getting paid.
The caterers want payment to be timeous as they, in most cases, use loans for their activities and must also pay back on time to avoid any penalty.
Responding to the concerns of the caterers on Connect FM's midday news Orekodo, Abena Kwallah admitted that some individual caterers in four districts are owed 20 days of cooking.
But she also blamed some of the caterers for providing wrong information when submitting documents for payment, thereby creating challenges when payment has to be made.
“We sometimes have challenges with the details of some of the caterers. Some do not provide the right details. And you know there is a new directive on transferring money via the mobile phone or what is known as Momo. Documents with anomalies were sent back to us. And I must add that this challenge was not only here in the Western Region but all over. But we have finished with the corrections and have sent them back to Accra for the necessary action.”
She, however, pleaded with the caterers not to stop cooking as they will definitely be paid for their services.
“Of course, I understand and share in their frustrations. It is a challenge to use a loan to cook and payment delays. But they should continue to have patience as we will ensure that each caterer is paid.”
Abena Kwallah added: “The School Feeding Programme is a very good initiative so we must all support it. If there are challenges which we admit to, don't hesitate to inform us. Even if you will not mention the name of the caterer, just mention the name of the school and we will do the necessary checks and rectify whatever challenge there is.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana