Settle debt owed food suppliers to save Free SHS programme – MP to govt
A member of the Food and Agriculture Committee of Parliament, Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey is urging the government to settle its debt to the National Food Buffer Stock Company to enable the firm release funds to the National Food Suppliers Association.
This follows a 14-day ultimatum issued by the National Food Suppliers Association to the Buffer Stock Company demanding the payment of outstanding debts.
Speaking to Citi News, the Member of Parliament for Keta, Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey says failure by the government to pay the arrears within the window could undermine the Free Senior High School policy.
“The National Food Buffer Stock Company is in distress, and they need government to come and pay the money so that they can pay the suppliers. What they are doing is that they buy from the open market and supply the schools. The likely consequence is that there are children who are in various secondary schools under government’s flagship programme, then they claim they are going to supply food to the students, then, they will not be able to achieve their aim and the children will be hungry.
“And parents will have to come in to provide food items for their wards. That’s what’s going to happen. The country is broke, and it is very difficult for the government to pay these suppliers. The economy has moved from intensive care to being on death row now,” Gakpey said.
The lawmaker also described as pathetic the inability of the National Food Buffer Stock Company to preserve food items for emergency situations.
“The mandate of buffer stock is supposed to stock food during the bumper season where if we have an emergency situation, they can respond. If any emergency happens today in Ghana, Buffer Stock is not in a position to come to the attention of Ghanaians because they are not stocking any food. Sub-region sometimes gives them food to stock for them, but the Ghana government, they are not stocking anything. That is a pathetic story,” a member of the Food and Agriculture Committee of Parliament pointed out.
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