Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, says food shortages in Senior High Schools can eventually result in demonstrations if quick steps are not taken to resolve them.
According to him, students will one day rise up and rebel against schools when they run out of food.
“There are constant food shortages in our Senior High Schools and that’s problematic. If nothing is done to resolve this problem, the students will one day rise up against the school when there is no food and that will a huge source of concern for the government,” he disclosed.
The Free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy, is faced with a major challenge of feeding the beneficiaries, especially those in boarding schools as food suppliers get ready to withdraw services over a GHC500milion debt owed them.
The New Publisher gathered that though the situation has gotten out of hand, the suppliers have not been able to fully voice out their woes over the fear of victimization as they would be deemed to be painting the government black.
The GHC500 million debt, sources have disclosed, started piling up in 2021 as the government through the Ministry of Education (MOE) faulted in paring the food suppliers who have become cash-starved and unable to repay loans they took from banks to purchase their food suppliers.
Interests on the unpaid loans continue to pile yet the unpaid suppliers are expected to cough out more funds to meet their suppliers so as to get the SHS beneficiaries fed.
Heads of schools and students have expressed their frustration over the imminent food shortage that is directly starring the face of the various schools across the country.
Kofi Asare in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show, revealed over 70 percent of the budget allocated to the free SHS policy is spent on food, “but up till now, the free SHS policy has not received up to 50 percent of the annual budget allocated to the policy.”
He added the cash flow issues affecting the Buffer Stock have resulted in the delayed payments to food suppliers “and until suppliers are paid, their attitude will not change. If the government is able to release the money to the Buffer Stock on time, they will be able to pay suppliers and there won’t be a problem.”
The Africa Education Watch recommended that Buffer Stock is strengthened and can independently issue an overdraft to cushion suppliers, seeing an end to food shortages.