We have not been paid – Western Regional School Feeding caterers

School feeding

Scores of basic school children in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis in the Western Region may not be able to enjoy their free meal under the Ghana School Feeding Programme as caterers have threatened not to cook if they are not paid.

In an interview on Monday, January on Connect FM’s morning show, a caterer, who wants to remain anonymous, complained bitterly that the government has not paid “some of us since 2019”.

“Our money has not been paid. Parts of the second term have not been paid. Twenty days of the hot meal have also not been paid. Monies have also not been released for the work we did in 2019.”

The non-payment the Western region Caterer mentioned has left some of her colleagues with huge debt, with others dying, adding that “four of my colleagues have died as a result”.

“Here in Western Region, one man has died as a result of this non-payment. Four days ago, a certain woman in Swedru died of shock. Personally, my BP is at a worrying level. I can’t sleep, it is very painful that we have worked for a year and we have not been paid. Our workers are constantly on us for their salaries and there is no money.”

The caterer stated that, “one of many in Sekondi-Takoradi, insisted that though they are aware of the payment module, it is regrettable and frustrating that their monies will delay – for years – when they are expected to continue cooking.”

She threatened, through tears, that they might not be able to feed the children because they had run out of money.

“…please where is the money to cook for them. If there is money or we have been paid, then we can cook but we have not been paid. If I credit items from you, I don’t pay and this continues for a period of time, will you be encouraged to continue giving me the items on credit? I am not sure.”

She was concerned that when money is paid, it is not always paid in full, and the remainder is eventually forgotten.

“I’m owed two terms and a 20 days hot meal. There are also some that have been paid but not in full. What they do is they don’t pay in full, they pay and leave some. They go ahead to pay subsequent ones leaving the previous outstanding debt.”

She cried that “as I speak I am owed GH¢90,000 and I’m getting frustrated by the day as my creditors are on me”.

Some of their creditors, she claims, have resolved to sue them for nonpayment, although it is not their fact that the funds have not been released.

However, Abena Kwallah, the Western Region Coordinator of the School Feeding Program, termed the caterer’s stance as disappointing.

She noted that the terms of the contract were clear that they[Caterers] have to pre-finance their cooking.

“To be honest, if the caterer who complained will be truthful, she will realize that before she signed the contract, the wording on the form was very explicit that you will cook before the government pays. And if indeed she is a caterer, she agreed to the terms before she signed. They are aware that you are only paid one term after you cook for two terms.”

She, however, assured the caterer and her colleagues that the government is making all the necessary efforts to get them paid.

“We have started paying. But for the Covid-19, I’m not sure the caterers will be complaining about non-payment. Now, we are paying for the second term. Payment has commenced and it is done on a regional basis. So I know this week will be the turn of Western Region. But I cannot be specific on the particular day that it will start. Nobody will intentionally not pay them when indeed they have worked. They should be patient and bear with us. We are and will pay.”

Source: Richard Mensah Adonu | Join our Telegram Group


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