Accra, Dec. 14, GNA— Stakeholders at a national dialogue have recommended the de-politicisation of the recruitment of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) caterers.
They said the politically motivated recruitment had resulted in the selection of unqualified and non- motivated caterers affecting efficient service delivery.
The recommendations were made following findings of an assessment of the GSFP by SEND GHANA, a Non- Governmental Organisation, in partnership with International Budget Partnership.
The study, undertaken in six districts of three regions – the Northern, Upper West and Greater Accra Regions – focused on assessing the processes in the procurement of caterers under the GSFP.
It was also to establish the basis for engagement with stakeholders in addressing identified gaps in the audit reports and assess the service delivery by caterers while identifying their challenges.
The participants reiterated the need for the recruitment and award of contracts to the caterers to be done on merit for professionalism and accountability.
That, they said, would empower the caterers to work effectively and not out of loyalty to a particular political party.
The report finding revealed that 73 per cent of head teachers said recruitment and awarding of contracts were influenced by political party affiliation.
It said 50 per cent of the caterers asserted that they were appointed by their political party, 40 per cent, out of support from District Chief Executives and stakeholders, and 10 per cent, through the bidding process for recruitment and awarding of contracts.
They called for prompt reimbursement of funds to contracted caterers by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) to ensure better service delivery to school children.
Participants appealed to Government to increase the money allocated to each child under the programme because commodities were expensive, and caterers were faced with challenges in the delay in payments of funds.
Ms Sandra Kwabea Sarkwah, the Project Officer, SEND GHANA, in a presentation, called on the District Assemblies to render accounts for proceeds from the sale of recruitment application forms to the Secretariat since it could be a source of financing to the feeding programme.
She called for the names of flawed districts to be mentioned in subsequent reports to facilitate easy communication and tracking by the public for ‘needy’ districts to be supported by stakeholders in the implementation of the audit recommendations.
According to Ms Sarkwah, 97 per cent of pupils across the six survey districts stated that they were fed five days in the week by the Programme, however, quantity and quality of the food were compromised.
‘‘In the Upper West Region for instance, 8 of every 10 students interviewed requested for the introduction of at least an egg or fish or meat served as a source of protein,’’ she said.
The Project Officer called on the Ministry to provide support for community level committee meetings to enhance supervision.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) was instituted in 2005 as an initiative of the Comprehensive Africa Development Agriculture Programme (CAADP) Pillar 3, which seeks to enhance food security in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) on hunger, poverty and malnutrition.
It is to provide children in public primary schools with one hot nutritious meal prepared from locally grown foodstuffs, on every school going day.
Source: Ghana News Agency