President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been called upon to ensure that all the challenges associated with the free Senior High School program, including issues with nonpayment of arrears to the food suppliers, are addressed immediately.
The National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) owes Food Suppliers money for two years in arrears, prompting the appeal from Builsa South MP Dr. Clement Apaak.
Koku Amedume, a National Food Suppliers Association spokesman, claimed they are under pressure because they obtained bank loans to help them satisfy the Buffer Stock’s supply needs.
Amedume stated, “The suppliers who spent the night at the NAFCO premises as part of the demonstration are more comfortable sleeping at the NAFCO premises than sleeping in their homes because of the pressure on them,” during a segment of the Ghana Tonight Show with Alfred Ocansey on TV3 on Tuesday, July 4.
He added that they are concerned about the interest that will accumulate on the loans they acquired due to NAFCO’s nonpayment.
“Our family is under tremendous hardship. Most of these people seek out bank loans with exorbitant interest rates to sustain their businesses and participate in this supply business.
“Buffer Stock had taken supplies from them for two years, and for two years, we have not been paid,” he claimed.
If the debts owed to the Food Suppliers under the Free Senior High School Program are not paid by the end of this week, Dr. Clement Apaak voiced concern that schools may have to close.
He said that if the debts are not paid, the suppliers won’t be able to continue providing food to the schools.
Dr. Apaak, also the ranking member of the parliamentary education select committee, pleaded with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to see that the suppliers’ unpaid arrears are paid so they may continue operating.
“I genuinely don’t understand what the issue is. Suppose critical sectors like education, health, and social intervention programs are protected even under the IMF program. Why has the government been unable to release funds to pay the suppliers of buffer stock food?
“From what I understand, the debt owing to them doesn’t even exceed GHS300 million. What has the government been doing with the funds Parliament has consistently approved to finance the Free SHS policy year in and year out?
“The President needs to stand up and take action so that schools won’t be shuttered by the end of the week if nothing is done. Schools may close if nothing is done by the end of this week because the food providers cannot continue providing supplies, Dr. Apaak warned on Ghana Tonight on TV3 on Tuesday, July 4.