The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong has disclosed that outstanding arrears owed suppliers to the National Buffer Stock Company would be made next month, August 17.
Presenting a statement on the floor of the House on Tuesday, on measures being taken to address the challenges confronting the National Food Buffer Stock Company Limited, he said “we are hoping that by mid-week that 50percent would be sent to suppliers, I have also assured the suppliers that by 17 August, as we commence the payment of the 50percent, the remaining 50percent would be paid.”
He also stated that currently Buffer Stock owes it suppliers Ghc203m, since 2017, Buffer Stock has done business with the suppliers to the tune of Ghc2.7bn, in 2017 it was Ghc81.1m, 2018 (Ghc296m), 2019 (Ghc441m), 2020 (Ghc467m),2021(Ghc692m), 2022(Ghc726m).
The company according to the minister has made payment in respect of 2017 to 2021 in full, explaining that for 2022 of the Ghc726m, Ghc500m has been paid to the suppliers, admitting that suppliers are still owed a little of Ghc203m.
“Such release we have sent to Finance and last week we received Ghc100m which is 50percent of what is due the suppliers and we have transferred same through the processes to Buffer Stock, we are hoping that by mid-week that 50percent would be sent to suppliers, I have also assured the suppliers that by 17 August, as we commence the payment of the 50percent, the remaining 50percent would be paid.
We have kept faith with the Buffer Stock suppliers -the total business we have done with the company is to the tune of 2.75bn out of which 2.5bn has been made.”
He adds that government does not have challenges with the suppliers and are “extremely surprised about the happenings in the last two weeks but they take it in good faith and will continue to work with them.”
The Member of Parliament for Tolon, Habib Iddrisu said government needs commendation not condemnation as implementation of the free senior high school programme has created job opportunities to food suppliers in order for students to be fed whiles in school. He also urged calm for the suppliers.
The members of the National Food Suppliers Association picketed at NAFCO’s headquarters to press their demand for payment of over two years’ arrears for food supplied to various schools across the country.