The Public Interest and Accountability Committee, PIAC, is asking government to as a matter of urgency, consider adding cost information to the food items supplied to schools under its Free Senior High School programme.
PIAC's suggestion came after it undertook a monitoring of some senior high schools under the Free Senior High School programme as part of the committee's mandate to ensure independent assessment and use of petroleum revenues.
The committee in a press release after it visited 51 schools said: “The lack of advice to recipient schools on the value of goods supplied portends a corruption risk as the lack of transparency provides cover for cost manipulation.”
“The lack of cost information also makes it difficult to complete school accounts. The schools indicated that their request for advice has so far been ignored. There is no transparency in the selection of suppliers.”
The Committee's decision was informed by the fact that the Programme benefited substantially from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) through the selection of Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education as a priority area for petroleum revenue spending.
In 2017, 59 percent (Approx. GH₵196 million) of utilised ABFA was spent on the Programme, with 50 percent (Approx. GH₵415 million) of utilised ABFA going to support the programme in 2018. For 2019, approximately GH₵680 million representing about 32 percent of the projected ABFA, was allocated for the programme.
The committee said the exercise was aimed at obtaining first-hand information on the progress of implementation of the policy, the challenges and opportunities, and identifying areas for improvement. Recommendations
The Committee encouraged vigilance on the part of school authorities in monitoring the quality of supplies, such as inspecting the expiry dates among others as this will prevent the suppliers from using the schools as dumping grounds.
“In order to avoid the recurrence of over and under-supply of food items, the supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company should be based on orders from the schools. Supply contracts for uniforms and house vests should be given out early enough to forestall delays,” PIAC recommended.
The Committee further recommended full transparency in the delivery of supplies to the schools and in particular, the Buffer Stock Company must ensure that all goods supplied are accompanied by advice on the value and quantity of the goods.