School Feeding Programme not biased towards NPP – Gender Minister

School Feeding Programme not biased towards NPP – Gender Minister
Madam Lariba Zuweira Abudu

The Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, has dismissed allegations that the government’s School Feeding Programme only employs caterers who are members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The claim was made by Dorothy Ofori Sarpong, who said she was a spokesperson for the caterers in the Ashanti Region, in a recent interview on Eyewitness News. She said that all the caterers and their leaders under the programme were NPP members.

However, in an interview on Face to Face on Citi TV, hosted by Umaru Sanda Amadu, Madam Lariba Zuweira Abudu said she was not aware of such allegations, and added that it was impossible for her to know the political affiliations of the thousands of caterers who have been contracted.

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“I’m not aware. Do you normally believe all those stories? I’m dealing with 30,860 caterers. How do I know their party affiliations? I sit here, and some ladies come to me with problems, and I know they are known National Democratic Congress members. It’s not true. This programme was advertised. You apply, we shortlist you, we make you go through medicals, and then we hire you and give you a contract of two years.

“Everybody belongs to a particular party. I’m hiring a number of people. How will I know that all these coming are from one party? She may be anybody who just wants to muddy the waters. I don’t want to believe what she’s saying. Anybody can just phone in and talk as if they are a party member. Maybe she’s not, who knows? Maybe she’s also trying to play her cards well,” the minister said.

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Regarding the payment of arrears and the proposed GH¢1.20 increment for the caterers, the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection said, “We are just owing 2022 third term. We have paid the first and second terms. I hear them saying we owe them 2017 and 2018. We asked them to bring their documents. When we look at the documents, and they are correct, we just pay. Some of them don’t even have contracts. There are issues they themselves know. Some of them the figures they give are not realistic. We paid the arrears on June 6, except for those who have issues. I’m happy that some of them are cooking in the Northern, Ashanti, Greater Accra regions, and elsewhere.”

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Madam Lariba Zuweira Abudu suggested an increase of GH¢1.20, but the caterers, who have withdrawn their services since the reopening of schools, say the government’s offer is inadequate and unacceptable.

The aggrieved caterers are demanding payment of GH¢3.50 per child before they resume their work.

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