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Parliament to constitute adhoc c’ttee to investigate SFP, Buffor stock

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has tasked the leadership of five committees of Parliament to constitute an adhoc committee to look into the affairs of the School Feeding Programme (SFP) and the National Buffer Stock Company.

The Committees are Education, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Health, Food and Agriculture and the Finance Committee.

“I am directing leaders of the following five committees to constitute an adhoc committee to investigate the activities of these two organisations and report to Parliament on the feasibility, sustainability and state of affairs of the two programmes” Mr Bagbin directed.

The committee is expected to present its report to the House before the end of October 2022.

The constitution of the adhoc committee follows an unannounced visit the Speaker paid to the two institutions a fortnight ago to abreast himself with their challenges and prospects.

It was on the back of the recent strike by the SFP caterers to demand an increase in the feeding grant for students from GH¢0.97 to GH¢3 per day.

According to the Speaker, he noted some inconsistencies in the operations of the two programmes when he paid the visit to them as part of Parliament’s oversight responsibility.

Though he said the National Coordinator of the SFP, Mrs Gertrude Quashigah bemoaned the Ministry of Finance’s inability to release funds for prompt payment of caterers; she said reports that the secretariat was indebted to caterers for months, were inaccurate.

A report by Send Ghana on tendering and procurement processes of services and caterers for the programme, the Speaker said contradicts accounts he has received hence the need to ascertain the state of the SFP to ensure quality of service to the school children.

On the National Food Buffer Stock Company, the Speaker said there were inconsistencies in the supposed preparedness of the company and its ability to ensure all year round food supply to Senior High Schools in the country.

“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,” Mr Bagbin stated.

A July 7, 2022 publication by the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in the Upper West Region about the refusal of NFBS to supply food items to Senior High Schools he said contradicts the company hence the need to establish the availability of food to feed students in the country.

The Speaker asked the committee to be guided by article 106(14) of the 1992 constitution which gives time limits for submission of committee reports and be timeous in their work.

Article 106(14) states that “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”.

He noted that though the provision deals 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.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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