Students in the three regions of northern Ghana have finally returned to school after their schools authorities received part of the school feeding grants being owed by the government.
Recall that other schools in Southern parts of the country resumed schooling on the 4th of May, after the Easter break. But those in the north had vowed to remain at home until government pays off the piled up feeding grant arrears being owed them for over an academic session.
This issue of unpaid school feeding grants had lingered since the time of immediate past President John Dramani Mahama. Concerned authorities such as The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) have threatened time and again to shut down affected senior high schools over the problem, in order to move the government into paying them, but all have been to no avail.
CHASS had revealed that the non-payment of school feeding grants have resulted to huge debts, with many schools resorting to feeding their students on credit; a move that has led to creditors harassing the affected heads of institutions.
But this time around, the new Akufo-Addo government has heeded to the cries and intervened. A total of GH¢ 106, 697, 628. 80 was released to the Registrar of Scholarships earlier this month, for the payment of feeding arrears for two out of the four outstanding terms.
Information about the release of the school feeding grants was contained in a statement from the Ministry of Finance. The statement had revealed that the paid amount is meant to take care of the third term feeding grant of 137, 300 students for the 2015/2016 academic year and the first term feeding grant of 140, 264 students for the 2016/2017 academic year.
The ministry further indicated that it is processing the grant for the outstanding two terms of the 2016/2017 academic year; that is second and third terms respectively.
The development was really a welcome one for suppliers, caterers and other stakeholders along the supply chain of the school feeding program, whom have reportedly been suffering untold financial setbacks in their business due to the owed grants.