The management of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has condemned media reports that the programme, which provides daily meals to over 3.4 million deprived public basic school pupils, has been suspended indefinitely by the government.
According to Gertrude Quashigah, the reports by Adom FM and Adomonline are false and highly misleading and have the tendency to cause fear and panic among the beneficiary pupils, deprived parents and caterers working under the Programme.
Mrs. Quashigah emphasized that the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is still committed to the implementation of the Ghana School Feeding Programme due to its significant impact on the development of education at the basic level.
The media reports emanated from a question posed to the caretaker Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, on the floor of Parliament by the Member for Yilo Krobo, Albert Tetteh Nyakotey, seeking to know when the Programme will be extended to some schools he mentioned in his constituency.
The Minister in her response, stated: “Mr. Speaker, currently the expansion of the Programme is on hold. We are clearing all arrears of caterers and putting in place measures to ensure effective and efficient service delivery to all beneficiaries as well as caterers.
“We are also putting in place a Management Information System to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the system.
“We shall surely inform the House when we are ready to expand the programme to cover additional schools.”
However, according to Mrs. Quashigah, the reporter for reasons best known to him decided to twist the facts and reported that the entire School Feeding Programme is on hold by the government.
The National Coordinator said the story has caused a serious damage to the integrity of the ruling government, the sole financier, and its technical partners.
She is on behalf of the Minister calling on editors of Adom FM and Adomonline to retract and render an apology to the government, the management of the Programme, development partners, the millions of beneficiary pupils and their parents and the general Ghanaian public for the false impression created by the reportage, which had also been republished by other media.
Mrs. Quashigah said that she had had to sacrifice a lot of time together with her management team to talk to distraught caterers of the Programme across the 261 districts who were affected by the false publication and had felt that their jobs had been suspended indefinitely.
She appealed to parents, pupils and caterers to ignore the publication and continue to have faith in the government and the Programme.