Government is set to increase the feeding grant for pupils under the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GFSP) in 2023.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta disclosed this on Thursday while presenting the budget in Parliament.
He said the decision is to reflect the current increase in the cost of living.
“In 2023, the feeding grant will be increased to reflect the current cost of living. The programme will also strengthen domestic production by sourcing locally produced food from the National Buffer Stock company,” the Minister said.
The current feeding grant for the caterers is ¢0.97 per child. The caterers have for some months now demanded an increase to ¢3 per child but the government is yet to heed their demand.
A total of 3,448,065 pupils in public basic schools currently benefit from the School feeding programme.
The caterers earlier this year withdrew their services, demanding payment of about GH¢234 million in third-term arrears for the 2021 academic year.
In addition, they demanded an increase in the feeding grant for pupils.
In March 2022, Cecilia Abena Dapaah who was then the Caretaker Minister for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection announced the suspension of expansion of the Programme to allow debts owed to caterers to be cleared.
“Mr. Speaker, currently the expansion of the programme is on hold. However, we are clearing all arrears of caterers and putting in measures to ensure effective and efficient service delivery to all beneficiary schools and the caterers.
“We are also putting in place a management information system to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. We shall surely inform this august House when we are ready to expand the programme to cover additional schools,” she said.
Subsequently, in June, Cecilia Abena Dapaah announced that arrears owed to school feeding caterers have been paid.
She said this during a visit to some public schools in the Ashanti Region.
“We are here to make sure, we monitor the quality of food being prepared for the school children. We came here to also talk to the teachers and also the children themselves so that the story will be complete.
“We needed to find out for ourselves if they are actually cooking what they claim to be doing.
“We owed 68 days, we have paid all. The payment has been done,” she said.
Source: Raphael Ghartey