Overhaul of School Feeding Secretariat- CJA
The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) on Thursday appealed to the government to completely overhaul the secretariat implementing the School Feeding Programme (SFP) and urgently restructure its focus to meet the needs of the children.
It also called for the formation of strong and committed monitoring teams to ensure a consistent, rigorous and open approach to performance management and assessment of caterers.
Mr Kwasi Adu, a member of the CJA who read the group's statement at a press conference in Accra, said "if people in charge of the programme had any idea of planning, we would have thought they would, at least, have worked to streamline the programme long before the beginning of the new academic year".
"We are particularly concerned about a number of inappropriate actions taking place in the scheme including, the selection of caterers without due procedure, non-compliance with procurement rules, inclusion of unapproved schools, provision of unwholesome foods to pupils and misadministration," he said.
Mr Adu said the CJA was of the view that with the institution of a new government, the rottenness would have stopped but that did not happen adding that the programme had continued to see further abuse which defeated the objectives behind its institution.
He said there was evidence of several caterers working against the secondary objective of the programme by using unwholesome foreign products to prepare meals adding that in some cases, one caterer was allocated unreasonable large number of schools.
He suggested that government should establish clear performance standards for all caterers and employ a robust action to ensure that caterers adhered to the principles of good practice to deliver the service.
Mr Adu also called for the establishment of clear lines of authority, responsibility and communication between appropriate government institutions implementing the programme to foster shared understanding among them.
He said this would prevent the recurrence of who had the right to engage or disengage caterers, which brought confusion in recent weeks in the implementation of the programme.
He said government officials should periodically undertake unannounced visits to schools to evaluate the performance of caterers.