If food suppliers are not paid by the end of this week, schools will close, according to Apaak
Dr. Clement Apaak, a member of parliament for Builsa South, is concerned that schools may close if the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) does not pay the arrears owed to the food suppliers for the Free Senior High School Programme by the end of this week.
He said that if the debts are not paid, the suppliers won’t be able to continue providing food to the schools.
Dr. Apaak, who is also the ranking member of the parliamentary education select committee, pleaded with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to see to it that the suppliers’ unpaid arrears are paid so they may continue operating.
I genuinely don’t understand the issue; we’ve been told that Critical industries including education, healthcare, and social intervention initiatives are safeguarded even under the IMF programme, then why has the government been unable to provide funds to pay the suppliers of buffer stock food?
“From what I know, the amount owed them is not even in excess of GHS300 million. So what has the government been doing with the money that Parliament has been approving year in and year out to finance the Free SHS policy?
“The President ought to step up to the plate and do the needful so that we don’t have schools closed down by the end of this week if nothing is done. If nothing is done by the end of this week, mark my words, schools will be closed down because the suppliers are no longer in a position to supply food,” Dr Apaak said on Ghana Tonight on TV3 Tuesday, July 4.
Food Suppliers who have been picketing at the NAFCO have said that they are owed two years’ arrears.
A spokesperson for the National Food Suppliers Association Koku Amedume said that this situation is putting pressure on them because they took loans from banks to enable them to meet the supply needs of the Buffer Stock.
Speaking on the Ghana Tonight Show with Alfred Ocansey on TV3 Tuesday, July 4, Amedume indicated that the suppliers who spent the night at the premises of the NAFCO as part of the demonstration are more comfortable sleeping at the premises of NAFCO than sleeping in their homes because of the pressure on them.
He also said they are worried about the interest being accrued on the loans they took because of the nonpayment by NAFCO.
“The pressure on us at home is massive. Most of these people go to contract loans from banks with huge interests with the sole aim of supporting their business and engaging in this supply business.
“Buffer stock had taken supplies from them for two years, for two years we have not been paid,” he said.