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Validation Saves Ghana School Feeding Programme GH24m
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Validation of figures of beneficiaries in the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has saved the state GH24m million termly, Robert Arday, Director of Operations at the GSFP, has said.

The move to halt what, hitherto, could be financial leakages started in 2016 when the GSFP was co-opted into the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Although the GSFP is challenged with logistics for effective monitoring, especially in districts where beneficiary schools are dispersed, Mr. Arday told participants at a multi-stakeholder social accountability policy advocacy forum, that the outfit would do its best to ensure that the state did not lose any 'silly' money to poor data collection.

GSFP has constantly collaborated with the Metropolitan Municipal and District Education Directorates for the exact figures of pupils in the beneficiary schools, and so in the 5,530 beneficiary schools in all the 216 districts, we have an accurate figure of 1.7 million pupils on the School Feeding Programme," the GSFP Director of Operations explained.

Though financial leakages had been blocked, some challenges the GSFP is faced with include low-levels to check the nutritious value of the meals served the pupils and absence of standardized kitchens in about 90 percent of the schools.

Payment for the School Feeding Programme is done on credit basis, therefore, a caterer needed to have the financial muscle to engage in the programme.

'But the good news is that the New Patriotic Party government has initiated moves to ensure that the delay in the payment of caterers is resolved outright," Robert Ardey said.

In resolving the delay in payments, he explained that the GSFP would directly be paying caterers, thus, the era when monies were sent to the districts for onward disbursement to the caterers was over.

Mr. Ardey was emphatic that the GSFP would be implementing the caterer on-board guiding policy, explaining that that would help de-politicize the programme when governments change.

To this end, he said, the performance of the caterers would be reviewed at the end of the 2015/2016 academic year, after which the GSFP, through the Ministry, would implement the caterer on-boarding policy.

The multi-stakeholder social accountability policy advocacy forum was organised by Penpulsbytes (PPB), in collaboration with the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) and SEND Ghana.

Source: The Chronicle

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