Speaker set up ad-hoc committee to investigate challenges or otherwise of NBSC

Following the inability of the Buffer Stock Food Company and the School Feeding Programme to supply food to Senior High Schools in the Upper West Region,the speaker of Parliament has directed for a thorough investigations into what constitutes their challenges.

Speaker set up ad-hoc committee to investigate challenges or  otherwise of NBSC

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Honorable Alban Sumana Bagbin has constituted an ad-hoc bi-partisan committee to investigate the challenges that have occasioned the supply of food to the schools in the Upper West Region.

The Speaker's directives follow what he termed an unannounced visit to the company to ascertain for himself the challenges that have bedeviled the company which challenges must have caused a shortage of food supply to schools in the Upper West Region.

According to the Speaker, the school feeding program which was aimed at amongst other things eliminating feeding challenges in the various schools across the country has in recent times been faced with serious challenges which need to be investigated.

He said the program was intended to help students in the rural areas whose parents are impoverished yet must keep their wards in school. Unfortunately, the Speaker noted that the current challenges are defeating the very purpose of that good program.

It was in this light of this that he constituted the ad-hoc committee to investigate the same and submit a report within 24 clear days to Parliament.

This directive is in light of the recent strike by food suppliers to various schools across the country and the subsequent Speaker's unannounced visit to the two companies.

The committee has up to October 5, 2022, to submit its report to the house.

The speaker sets up a bi-partisan Ad-hoc committee to investigate challenges confronting the school feeding program and the National Buffer Stock Company.

The Ad-hoc committee will be constituted by the education, gender, food and agriculture, health, and finance committees to investigate the feasibility, sustainability, and the general state of the program.

The Speaker disclosed that malnutrition accounted for some 45% of mortality among children under 5 years and below in middle-income countries in Africa.

Micronutrient deficiencies, he added are responsible for one-third of child death in Africa. He further said hunger also has an immediate and long-term negative effect on children's physical, emotional and intellectual development. The Speaker bemoaned leaders' lack of boldness in taking decisions to enhance the welfare of the child. "Let it not be said that we are part of the generation of leaders who supported this indecisiveness in standing for the protection and development of the child.

"If we are committed to dispelling this notion, the counter-narrative to this must begin with us", he charged. 

"Let me reiterate that the school feeding program provides great potential to accelerate the nation's progress in attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on hunger, poverty, and malnutrition", he intimated.

He said it was critical to address the sustainability of the program as a matter of national priority while constituting realistic and sustainable measures to avert the possible reoccurrence in the future as experienced today.

"May I also remember Honourable Members particularly the leaders of committees of the guidance of Article 106 clause 14 of the 1992 constitution, the said article states that a bill introduced in parliament by and on behalf of the president shall not be delayed for more than three months for any committee of parliament", he stated.

He continued "Honourable Members, we further averred our minds to standing order 136 which is a reproduction of article 106 clause 14 of this matter even though this provision deals with particularly public bills, they nevertheless give an n indication of how long Ghanaians expect a matter referred to a committee of parliament for investigation and inquiry could take before a report is submitted to the House for necessary action", the Speaker noted.

He explained that the reason for those provisions was obvious to prevent deliberate sabotage, abstraction, or undue delay on government or parliamentary business by any committee or some members of a committee. "Am emphasizing this issue because of referrals that have been with some committees for over six months and some are getting to a year and we do not have any report from the committees.

"Honorable members, you know there are sanctions against breach of these rules and I have resisted the temptations of applying these rules.

This is the third and last time I will refer to this and defer applying and enforcing the sanctions. I did so because members were going through the learning process but I will no longer hesitate in applying these sanctions as members are now conversant with how parliament works and I will proceed in applying the law. A word to a wise is enough", the Speaker warned.

Report by Prosper Kwaku Selassy Agbitor