The Chief Executive Officer of the National Food Buffer Stock Company, Hanan Abdul-Wahab says the government has paid 85 per cent of the arrears owed food suppliers..
He said government released GH¢100 million on July 17, and also released additional GH¢80 million this month (August) for payment.
Therefore, it is left with less than GH¢30 million of the arrears, which will be cleared by the end of August, 2023, Mr Abdul-Wahab made the disclosure at the Minister’s news briefing in Accra on Monday.
The National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCo) had received GH¢2.7 billion from government between 2017 and 2022, which was used to pay business transactions NAFCo entered with licensed food suppliers, he said.
The CEO of NAFCo gave the assurance that the Company would perform its mandate of ensuring there were sufficient food items for 700 boarding senior high schools to ensure 1.2 million students under the Free SHS Policy were fed adequately.
Some food suppliers last month picketed at the premises of NAFCo in Accra, demanding payment of GH¢275 million arrears owed them by the government for food items supplied to schools.
The picketing created lots of media frenzy, leading the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Bryan Acheampong to visit them.
Some Minority Caucus in Parliament also visited the picketers at the premises of NAFCo to ascertain the cause of the delay in paying their arrears.
The move by the Minority Caucus did not go down well with some government officials, sparking verbal confrontation between the sector minister and some NDC MPs who were at the premises of NAFCo.
The CEO of NAFCo, in his earlier presentation, highlighted various policy interventions and programmes the Company had been implementing over the past six years to prevent post-harvests losses as well as ensuring fair prices for food items purchased from food suppliers.
Some of the programmes included the 1 District,1 Warehouse, intended to construct 80 of 1000 metric tonnes (MT) capacity warehouses in each district.
Mr Abdul-Wahab said Sixty (60) of those warehouses had been completed under the first phase of the project, he stated.
He also mentioned the rehabilitation of other warehouses across the country such as the 5,000 MT capacity warehouse in Duase, 2,500 MT warehouse capacity in Sunyani, 1,300 MT warehouse in Wenchi and 2,500 MT at Yendi.
Mr Abdul-Wahab stated NAFCo was the only institution mandated by government to supply 18 different food items to the 700 boarding senior high schools.
The food items include maize, beans, peanuts, millet, soya beans and rice as well as locally proccessed food items like gari, edible palm oil, Tom Brown, tin tomatoes and processed cocoa powder.
He expressed NAFCo’s commitment to contribute its quota to the development of agricultural business value chain from harvesting, transportation, processing, storage and distribution.