The Ghana School Feeding Programme invested GHC 16,000,000 with Dalex Finance and Leasing Company as well as Cal Bank in 2016.
This was revealed in the 2017 Auditor General’s annual report on the Public Accounts of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
The programme is said to have invested GHC 5,000,000 and GHC 11,000,000 on July 29 and July 8 with Dalex Finance and Leasing Company and Cal Bank respectively.
The report indicated that the investment was inappropriate, given that government institutions are not “required to make such investments unless with the express approval of the Minister of Finance.”
It further said management’s use of its resources in such a manner “undermines the effort of government in providing prompt services for the successful implementation of the School Feeding Programme.”
Chief Executive Officer for Dalex Finance and Leasing Company, Ken Thompson in response to these claims, indicated that the money was invested at a commercial rate at the time and subsequently “paid back.”
He indicated that it is the regular practice for government agencies to make such payments to financial institutions.
“Institutions place money with us all the time, and the rates we give for the money that we receive is at the rate at the time. I presume the money they gave us was money they had received and did not have the immediate use for it.”
Protests from caterers
The basic idea of the school feeding programme has been to provide pupils in primary public schools with one hot, nutritious meal every day.
It has however been battling with some challenges as far as funding is concerned.
In May, scores of caterers under the school feeding programme besieged the premises of the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection, demanding the payment of their arrears.
Some of the caterers said they had not been paid for more than eight months.
At the time, the National School Feeding Secretariat said it would pay the debt by the end of May.
Payment of the arrears has been seen to be filtering into the caterers with the government recently releasing GHc 10 million to them.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme has been ongoing since 2005, under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme Pillar III, in response to the first and second Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and achieving the universal primary education.