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5,000 School Feeding Programme Caterers Paid
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The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has released GHc53 million to 5,000 caterers across the country as part payment for the 2014/2015 academic year.

The money, which was paid in September 2015, was part of the GHc128 million arrears for the outstanding 124 days for the second and third terms.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Monday, the Public Relations Officer of the GSFP, Mr Siiba Alfa, said the money was for 64 out of the 69 days for the second term.
He said the GSFP would release the remaining GHc75 million for the outstanding 70 days (five days for the second term and 65 days for the third term) to the caterers as soon as it got the money from the Ghana Consolidated Fund.

The GSFP is a government-funded programme under which pupils in deprived schools across the country are given one meal a day.

Caterers are contracted to pre-finance the procurement of food items and preparation of the food for the pupils.

Electronic payment
Mr Alfa said for the first time, payment to the caterers was done electronically through the electronic card payment system and mobile money.

He said the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the mother ministry of the GSFP, contracted MTN mobile network, which had registered all the caterers in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western, Central and Volta regions to pay them with the mobile money network.

Under the arrangement, the GSFP releases the money to MTN, which in turn disburses it to the caterers through the mobile money system.

The caterers are able to access their money through MTN agents or any bank of their choice. Caterers in the Northern, Upper West, Upper East, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions had been issued with electronic money cards by the Ghana Inter-Bank Payment System.

As soon as payment is effected, the caterers can access their money from any bank of their choice. Mr Alfa said so far 98 per cent of the 5,000 caterers had received their money through mobile money and electronic money systems.

He added that some of the caterers had registered for mobile money in the name of their husbands or relatives, while others had used different names for the registration of the electronic money cards.

As a result, he said, those people were yet to receive their money because of the anomalies and gave an assurance that the GSFP was working around the clock to correct the mistakes and make it possible for the affected caterers to access their money.

Another challenge was that the caterers could not take more than GHc1,000 per day from MTN mobile money agents, he said.

Mr Alfa said although the caterers had the option of withdrawing as much as GHc10,000 from banks, most of them did not know that that option was available.
Source: Daily Graphic

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