‘Free Uniform’ Takes Off

Vice President John Mahama has directed the Ministry of Education to immediately place an order for the production of the materials for the take off of the free school uniform programme. He also directed that initial production of 300,000 meters of the material be ordered from Printex Ghana, the only local textile manufacturer with the capacity to produce according to the speculations. Vice President Mahama gave the directive when he chaired a meeting between the representatives of textile sector, the Ministry and manufacturers at the Castle, Osu yesterday. The meeting was at the instance of the vice president as a follow up to a previous one last month to speed up the process of producing the material from local manufacturers. “We have to start with 300,000 meters from Printex for the take off of the programme,” he said, adding that ATL and GTP will be given the opportunity to join as soon as they adjust their machinery to produce to the ministry’s specifications. The ministry requires some 5.5million meters of the polyester blend material to be distributed to children from deprived homes starting from this academic year. The government has promised to award the contract to local manufacturers following reports that some foreign companies were being considered for the contract. Mr. Mahama summoned an urgent meeting at which he asked the Ministry to negotiate the terms of the contract and award it to local firms. But the process seems to have been delayed; hence, yesterday’s meeting to resolve any difficulties. Alex Tettey-Enyo, Minister of Education, told the meeting that the process had delayed because his ministry had not secured funding from the finance ministry. However, vice president Mahama asked him to place the order ahead since the school uniform programme had been catered for in this year’s budget. The representatives of ATL and GTV gave the assurance that their companies which currently produce only 100 per cent garment, as opposed to the polyester blend required for the school uniforms, would negotiate with the ministry to find ways of participating in the programme.