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11.03.2009 Education

Staff of School Feeding Programme accuse co-ordinator

Workers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) are accusing the National Co-ordinator, Mr Michael Nsowah, of reducing their salaries arbitrarily.

They also allege that Mr Nsowah had recruited some cronies who were unqualified, and had also caused the secretariat to be renovated at the expense of the state when it was not necessary.

These accusations have however been denied by Mr Nsowah, who has issued a strong rebuttal saying his accusers were only out to tarnish his reputation.

Staff who pleaded anonymity told the Daily Graphic that a few months ago, workers noticed a reduction in their salaries and that the practice continued for about two or three moths before they sought explanation.

They said they were told by the accountant of the secretariat that the deductions were based on recommendations of Mr Nsowah. However, they claimed that Mr Nsowah failed to explain to them the reason behind his decision.

The deductions, they intimated, ranged between GH¢100 and GH¢150.

The staff also said Mr Nsowah had employed an internal auditor, nutritionist, a driver and a secretary who they claimed had proven to be incompetent.

The workers maintained that a nutritionist was not needed at the secretariat and that they were rather needed at the districts where the food was prepared for the children.

Mr Nsowah said when he took over, he observed that both university graduates and non-graduates, earned the same salaries and added that in some cases, some non-graduates earned more than graduates.

"I therefore streamlined the pay structure, putting all graduates in one basket and non-graduates in another. In doing so, the salaries of some workers reduced and others increased," he said.

With regard to the issue of recruitment of incompetent people, he said he engaged only two people, his personal secretary and a driver, and added that the two were competent.

"As for the nutritionist and the internal auditor, the appointments were made by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. I had no hand in the appointments," he added.

Mr Nsowah said he renovated the secretariat because it needed a facelift and an international appeal.

"We need support from donors and we have to put the place in order so that when people visit us, they will know we are serious and offer us support," he said.

He added that the award of the contract was very transparent, and that the valuation was done by the Public Works Department (PWD).

"It was the PWD which awarded the contract. I had no hand in it," he added.

As regards the issue of a nutritionist at the secretariat, Mr Nsowah said she was needed to ensure that the menu met the nutritional requirements of children.