Food Suppliers Association is whose membership is made up of, exclusively, food suppliers to the government’s Free Senior High School (FSHS) program has taken a swipe at Government over government’s failure to pay them.
Addressing a news Conference in Accra on Wednesday, the Spokesperson of the Group Mr. Kwaku Amedume stressed that the indebtedness has brought untold hardship to their members resulting in deaths of some of them.
“Government through the National Food Buffer Stock Company Ltd and the Ministry of Education, has been indebted to our members to the tune of millions of Ghana cedis and all attempts to draw the attention of government to our plights have not yielded any results.
We are seeking to use the media platforms to draw the attention of those who matter in government to appreciate the dehumanizing nature we have found ourselves by reason of government’s failure to honor its obligations under the contract we attested to”, Mr. Amedume fumed.
He also accused Buffer Stock officials of using the monies meant for them for their parochial businesses.
Below is the full statement
PRESS STATEMENT RELEASED BY THE NATIONAL FOOD SUPPLIERS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media. On behalf of all the members of the National Food Suppliers Association, l welcome you all to our maiden engagement with you, since the formation of this noble association of ours. We are most grateful to you for honoring this distressing invitation extended to your outfits at that short notice.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, as our name suggests, we are a group of private individuals who supply the under listed food items to the National Food Buffer Stock Company, for the smooth implementation of this all- important Free Senior High Secondary Education. The items are:
- Soya Beans
- Vegetable oil
- Tomato paste
- Can Milk
- Palm Oil
- Hot Choloate
The National Food Buffer Stock Company has, for the past one and half years, failed to pay for the various food items supplied to the Secondary Schools by our members. Apart from the numerous letters addressed to the office of the Chief of Staff, Ministry of Education and the National Food Buffer Stock Company, several attempts have been made by members of our association to have their monies paid to them, but all have proven unsuccessful.
We have been given promises upon promises of plans and arrangements by Buffer Stock to settle the arrears owe suppliers but none of those promises have been fulfilled. The last time our executives visited the Minister of Education, he indicated that, his ministry has paid well over 90 percent of our money to the National Food Buffer Stock. However, National Food Buffer Stock also denied such payment by the government. We are in dilemma as to veracity or otherwise of the two claims.
We have recently lost two (2) of our members, a husband and a wife as a result of the unbearable pressures, coupled with emotional trauma and humiliation the couples went through, on daily basis, in the hands of creditors. We have lost credibility in the eyes of our creditors (farmers and Banks) who are resorting to all manner of activities against our members, all in the bid to recoup their money lent to us.
The banks are on our necks to take over our properties and assets, because, we are in default of the loan agreements we have had with them. We are unable to meet our daily and routine economic needs.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the terms of the Supply Contract with the National Food Buffer Stock Company provides that ‘payment will be made within SIXTY DAYS after receipt of all invoices of the items supplied to the assigned schools….’ However Buffer Stock has kept our money for almost 2 years. One will want to ask the thorny questions, that, will the value of the money owed to our members, one and half years ago, be of the same value as of today? Will the government of Ghana pay interest for holding up our working capital for this long period, given the fact that prices of commodities have gone up from last year. For example,
ITEMS. PRICES (2022). PRICES (2023)
MAIZE. GHC 160. Per 100kg bag GHC. 600
MILK. GHC. 72 per carton GHC 192
BEANS. GHC 500. Per 100kg bag GHC. 1,000
We are further calling for fairness, equity and openness in the price quotations. We are sometimes compelled to accept payments lesser than the government approved prices. Unilateral cancellation or alteration of contract price should give way for dialogues and consultations in effecting changes in the contract price.
We are by this Press Conference serving notice to the National Food Buffer Stock Company, that, failure to pay us 14 days from now, all the arrears owed our members, we will resort to picketing in the premises of the National Food Buffer Stock Company.
“We no go sit down make them chit us every day”!!!
Thank you for coming.