The National Association of Institutional Suppliers has asked the Government to pay outstanding and current debts owed to them for supplies made to schools in the last three years.
The Association, with 250 members, supplying uniforms, stationery and foodstuffs to Senior High Schools, said if Government did not settle the debt in two weeks, the members would picket the Ministry of Education.
Mr Stephen Oware, Chairperson of the Association, said they had made supplies to schools since 2021 and had not received full payment over the period.
He said they were paid in batches, adding that, out of the 19 batches of supplies, only five batches of payment had been made to some members.
“Payment for supplies we made to the schools for the past three years is always delayed. Some supplies made in the 2021 school year are still in arrears, and about 60 per cent of 2022 school year supplies are outstanding,” he said, adding that: “The Ministry has failed to fulfil its promise of paying us our monies at our meeting about three months ago.”
Mr Oware said the situation had subjected them to embarrassment from their bankers and creditors, saying some members were losing valuable properties used as collateral to banks, with others dying out of insolvency and misery.
“This development is seriously threatening the survival of our businesses. Our spouses, workers and dependants risk losing their livelihood if this situation is not urgently addressed,” he added.
Mr Oware also called for an increment in the price of their supplies to schools to meet the present economic situation and its attendant price hikes in the production cost.
He said since 2016, the price cost of their supplies paid by the Government had remained the same without any increment to cushion them in the current economic situation.
“All the factors affecting our production have not been favourable and, therefore, the cost of production has been abnormally high. Despite all these, the prices fixed for the supplied of products have virtually been the same, with the price fixed since 2016 still maintained.”
“We have since 2019 written a series of letters to the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service requesting upward adjustment, but to our dismay, there hasn’t been any positive response,” he stated.