The government says all debts owed former caterers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme totaling GHȻ285, 305,525.00 have been settled.
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba said with the settlement of the delayed claims means an end to the several agitations by the caterers over the non-payment of their arrears.
The former caterers had embarked on demonstrations to demand the full payment of arrears owed them by the government for services rendered in 2016/17 academic year after their contracts ended in July 2017.
But Madam Djaba announced at a workshop of Social Protection Annual Review and Planning at Koforidua in the Eastern Region on January 11, 2018 that her Ministry was able to meet the target it set for itself before the end of 2017, which also included payment of the arrears.
Madam Djaba stated that her Ministry in 2017 conducted all the six (6) bi-monthly nationwide LEAP payments to extremely poor households. She disclosed that more than 213,064 poor households in 6,594 communities nationwide are currently benefiting from LEAP.
The Minister emphasised the re-launch of the Social Protection Inter-Sectoral Technical Committee and Registration of Prison inmates onto the National Health Insurance Scheme, undertaken by the Social Protection (SP) Directorate.
The Directorate she noted, also carried out a validation of the SP Implementation Plan, developed a draft Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that is earmarked for completion this year.
Another achievement she outlined is the launch of the ‘Helpline of Hope’ call center which forms part of the Single Window Citizens System to receive complaints and redirect them to the appropriate quarters for the needed attention on a time bound of 24/7 basis with multilingual customer support.
Projecting into 2018, the MInister charged participants to ensure that social protection becomes a tool for formalising the informal sector which is dominated by vulnerable persons, as well as a tool for addressing the progress of rural development.
The Director of Social Protection, Dr. Rita Owusu-Amankwah, in her address, stated that the directorate has an ambitious work plan for 2018 and therefore entreated stakeholders to collaborate to leverage efforts and resources in the implementation of the activities in the work plan which is in line with the Social Protection Implementation plan.
She stated that the efforts of the Ministry and its stakeholders can only become useful when it touches the lives of the poor and vulnerable people in Ghana.