Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has tasked 5 committees of Parliament to investigate the concerns of school feeding caterers.

The Speaker also charged the committees to ascertain the challenges faced by the National Food Buffer Stock Company which is struggling to perform its role.

The committees are; Education, Finance, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Health and Food and Agriculture. They have been tasked by the Speaker to examine the feasibility, sustainability and state of affairs of the School Feeding Programme and report to the House before the end of October 2022.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, July 12, he stated that this will ensure that “food, an essential requirement of life, is made available to the vulnerable school-going children in the country.”

School Feeding caterers embarked on a strike to demand an increase in their feeding grant from 0.97 pesewas to 3 cedis.

The Buffer Stock Company has also been struggling to provide food to some senior high schools across the country.

The Speaker paid a surprise visit to the two entities last month and says the organizations are facing peculiar challenges which must prompt Parliament to act.


Addressing the House, the Speaker bemoaned the poor state of the National School Feeding Programme and entreated the 5 committees to expedite investigations into the concerns raised.

 “A matter of concern and public interest has been brought to my attention in the aftermath of the caterers of the School Feeding Programme’s recent protest and strike action. The caterers who ceased operations in May this year are requesting that the amount be increased from 0.97 pesewas to GH₵3 per child per meal.

“The caterers have also threatened to terminate their contract due to the non-payment of arrears by the government. The situation affects vulnerable school children and future leaders of this country,” Mr. Bagbin said.

The Speaker also revealed that the Management of both the School Feeding Secretariat and the Food Buffer Stock Company explained the causes of the struggles and called on members not to turn a blind eye.

The issues he highlighted included “recent price increase in food prices, stocking of food commodities for government use, and the inability of the company to stock at the peak of harvest.”

He added that both institutions are not happy that “the efficacy and viability of such laudable programmes are being affected by lack of funding.”

In spite of the challenges, the Speaker believes the School Feeding Programme has a great potential to accelerate the nation’s progress towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that seek to address hunger, poverty and malnutrition.

Full Statement Below



1. Hon. Members, a matter of concern and of public interest has been brought to my attention in the aftermath of the caterers of the School Feeding Programme’s recent protest and strike action. This necessitates some light shedding on the issues raised by the caterers in order to ensure that food, an essential requirement for life itself, is made readily available to the vulnerable school going children in our country.

2. The caterers, who ceased operations in May of this year, are requesting that their grants be increased from 0.97 pesewas to GHC3.00 per child per meal. A number of them have also threatened to terminate their contracts entirely due to months of non-payment of arrears by the government. I am aware of the extent to which the non-payment of these arrears is affecting school enrolment and attendance, particularly in rural communities.

3. We have all accepted the truism children and youth are the wealth of a nation. The situation we are in now affects the vulnerable school children and future leaders of this country. As political leaders, we are prioritizing political development over economic growth.  We are neglecting a significant resource of development; the people. As MPs, we cannot fold our arms or follow partisan lines and positions whilst Rome burn. As you are all aware, Parliament is the primary democratic institution which represents the people of this country. Parliament is the only constitutionally legitimate authority to call government to order and to put things right. We must resolve, here and now, to act quickly and decisively on this matter.

4. It is for this reason, that on the 23rd of June 2022, as part of Parliament’s oversight responsibility, specifically post legislative scrutiny function, I paid a surprise visit to the National Food Buffer Stock Company and the School Feeding Program Secretariat to understand and obtain first-hand information on the state of affairs, as well as assess the situation on the ground. I needed empirical prima facie evidence, in order to guide the House on a proper response to this challenge.

National Food Buffer Stock Company

5. My first stop was at the National Food Buffer Stock Company, where I met with the Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Hannan Abdul Wahab, management and staff of the Company. The CEO gave a detailed brief of the operations, and highlighted the company’s challenges in areas such as stocking for government use, recent price increases in food items, which have stalled the government’s initiative to roll out plans for price stabilization of goods and services, and the inability of the Company to stock at the peak of harvest, to name a few. He was not happy the viability and efficacy of such laudable program are being affected by lack of funding, thus compelling management to assess funding from commercial sources such as ADB Ltd.

Ghana School Feeding Program

6. Hon Members, the story was similar at the Ghana School Feeding Program Secretariat (GFSP). During my interaction with the National Coordinator, Mrs Gertrude Quashigah, in the presence of her management team, she bemoaned the Ministry of Finance’s inability to pay the caterers on time. But forcefully insisted that the information in the public domain about the non-payment of caterers for a period of time was not accurate.  

7. Indeed, in 2021, SEND GHANA monitored the GSFP, focusing on the tendering and procurement process of services and caterers. According to the survey, when it comes to challenges faced by caterers, the overwhelming majority cited persistent payment delays and inadequate grant value as major factors undermining the delivery of quality of service to the school children. The evidence of the presence and domination of party apparatchiks getting favors as caterers is overwhelming.

8. It was quite unfortunate to learn that some of these caterers who belong to the Islamic Faith could not embark on this year’s Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca because of the apparent undue delay in the payment of outstanding arrears for services rendered. This information contradicts the information given by the National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Program. This is unfortunate and unacceptable.

9. Let me also state that there exist obvious gaps between what the National Food Buffer Stock Company claim to supply and the realities that are unfolding in the education sector, particularly in relation to Senior High Schools. The response to a July 7, 2022 publication by the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in the Upper West Region, complained about the National Food Buffer Stock Company’s refusal to supply food items to Senior High Schools. I am aware that other regions face similar, if not worse, challenges.

10. Hon Members, this is a NO NO for a country that claims to prioritise human capacity development. Let me emphasise that the lives and proper development of these vulnerable and defenceless children are critical to the future of this country, and we cannot stand by and do nothing as things deteriorate. We must be able to oversee government to set the priorities of this country right! I am deeply concerned about the well-being and competence of these future leaders. We need to work in concert with government to educate, train and develop smart and intelligent human resource for Ghana’s future. We always keep uppermost in our minds the wise sawing that “intelligence rules the world. Ignorance carries the burden”.  

11. According to a 2019 report by the Global Development Commons, child malnutrition accounts for approximately 45 percent of mortality among children under five years in low-and-middle income countries. Micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for one-third of child deaths in Africa. Hunger also has had immediate and long-term negative effects on children’s physical, emotional and intellectual development, their life experiences and a country’s economic performance.

12. The aforementioned are unfortunately exacerbated by leaders’ lack of courage and political commitment to take bold and realistic decisions to enhance the welfare of the child. Let it not be said that we are part of the generation of leaders who supported this indecisiveness in standing for the protection and development of the child. If we are committed to dispelling this notion, the counter-narrative to this must begin with us.


13. Consequently, I am directing members of the following five Committees to investigate the activities of these two organizations and report to Parliament findings and recommendations on the feasibility, sustainability of the two programs before the end of October this year;

1. Education

2. Gender, Children and Social Protection

3. Health

4. Food and Agriculture, and

5. Finance

14. Let me, once more, reiterate that the School Feeding Programme provides great potential to accelerate the nation’s progress towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on hunger, poverty and malnutrition. It is therefore critical that we address issues affecting the efficient implementation of the program as matters of national priority, whilst instituting realistic and sustainable measures to avert a possible recurrence in the future of the situation we find ourselves in today.

15. May I also remind Hon Members, particularly the leadership of Committees, of the guidance of Article 106 Clause 14. The said Article 106 Clause 14 states;

“(14) A bill introduced in Parliament by or on behalf of the President shall not be delayed for more than three months in any committee of Parliament.”

Hon Members may further avert their minds to Standing Order 136 which is a reproduction of Article 106 clause 14 on this matter. Even though these provisions deal specifically with public bills, they nevertheless, give an indication of how long Ghanaians expect a matter referred to a Committee of Parliament for investigation and enquiry could take, before a report is submitted to the House for necessary action.

16. Hon. Members, you know there are sanctions against breach of these rules. I have resisted the temptation to apply these sanctions. This is the third and last time I will defer applying and enforcing the sanctions. I did so because members were going through the learning process. I will no longer hesitate in applying these sanctions. Members are now conversant with how Parliament works and I will proceed to apply the full rigors of the law. A word to the wise, is enough.

17. I thank you for your attention.

Source: expressnewsghana.com

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