THE expansion of the NEPAD School Feeding Programme to cover 200,000 primary school children across the country next year may run into difficulties due to a slash in budgetary allocation.
Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Co-operation and NEPAD, expressing this fear in Parliament on Wednesday, said that out of a ¢109 billion budget estimate for the programme, only ¢20 billion has been approved.
He was winding up a motion in Parliament for the approval of the ministry's budgetary allocation.
Dr Apraku said that the Dutch government had indicated its support of "Matching the Ghana Government Euro-for-Euro on the feeding cost of the programmes," and added that "Ghana has to make a firm commitment on its part through budget allocation in 2006."
He said that the school feeding programme would be pursued earnestly early next year, explaining that pilot phase of the programme which is expected to end this month, had given strong indication of the massive nature of the programme and the tremendous benefits to be derived from it, particularly in the context of poverty alleviation.
"This is borne out of the dramatic increase in school enrolment and retention, the high level of support and participation of the local communities and pronounced interest and expectation which the programme has generated."
"The Ministry will continue to play its co-ordinating role when the actual programme starts early in 2006 when it will involve 200,000 primary school children."
Dr Apraku also touched on the NEPAD project and said that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed to extend the project to Walewale Secondary School in the Northern Region, Wa Secondary in the Upper West and St. Augustine's Secondary at Bogoso in the Western Region.
Dr Apraku said that OLA Secondary in Ho, Akomadan Secondary in the Ashanti and Acherensua Secondary in the Brong Ahafo Region had so far benefited from the project since its inception last July.
Dr Apraku said the final phase of the APRM programme in Ghana would be completed early next year, after which the Ministry would collaborate with all relevant agencies in the implementation of the programme of action which has been developed.