Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum says the food crisis in the senior high schools across the country is due to government owing Buffer Stock Company an amount of GH₵340million.
The Minister made this statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday while responding to questions on the prevailing food shortage in the schools.
According to Dr Adutwum, despite government’s indebtedness to the Buffer Stock Company to that tune, it is working to pay in order to resolve food crisis.
“Mr Speaker, the outstanding payment obligation of the Ministry of Education to the National Food Buffer Stock Company as of 20th July is 340, 296,866. 08 pesewas. Government is working towards payment of this outstanding obligation,” he said.
He stated that the government has already released and paid the Buffer Stock Company an amount of GHS 327,871, 809.10 pesewas this year.
When asked if he is aware that CHASS is unhappy about buffer stock and its delivery to SHS, Dr Adutwum, replied that he has paid a visit to schools across the regions where they have experienced shortages adding that “they will continue to see improvement from today on.”
According to him, although the current food supply situation is not what they expected, the Education Ministry will continue to work with Buffer Stock “to ensure that their systems are streamlined and funding goes to them so that they can supply the food to the school.”
Meanwhile, Executive Director of African Education Watch (Eduwatch), Kofi Asare, has advised Ghanaians not to blame the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, for the seeming food shortage in some senior high schools in the country.
According to him, the current challenges are a result of the Ministry of Finance failing to release enough cash to pay suppliers of food to the schools.
Responding to questions on JoyNews’ AM Show on Monday via Zoom, Kofi Asare said, the Education Ministry and the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) had put in place prudent policies and cash flow projections to ensure that the SHSs keep running without challenges.
He explained that the Finance Ministry’s refusal to release the right amount of funds to pay the food suppliers made it difficult for them to have enough cash to buy and supply to the schools.
“Look, until the Finance Ministry makes it a point of releasing funds to the suppliers regularly and on time, it would be difficult for this shortage issue to end since they cannot continue borrowing money to buy food stuff at huge sums for supply to the schools,” said the Executive Director of Eduwatch.