Education Economist and Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, has revealed that the government's decision to import mackerel from China for the consumption of Senior High School (SHS) students, has negatively impacted the poultry industry, which hitherto supplied eggs to these Senior High Schools (SHSs).
According to Kofi Asare, poultry farmers had seen a boom in their business since the inception of the Free SHS policy by the Akufo-Addo administration, until the government engaged the services of a company to import and supply Chinese mackerel to all SHSs.
This development, he noted, has cut the consumption of eggs in these schools by 70percent forcing farmers, in the midst, of the COVID-19 pandemic, to scale down their production and lay off workers.
The company, Lamens Ventures, has been supplying the Chinese mackerel since January 2021.
Meanwhile, a Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament is demanding an audit into the management of free senior high education, since its inception.
The legislator is requesting for the audit after news broke that Ghana was importing mackerel to feed students benefiting from free SHS.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, Clement Apaak, says the audit is crucial since the budget for the implementation is expended by the presidency.
He wrote "We have been investigating why many SHS are not buying eggs like previously; spoken to large scale egg producers in Kumasi, Ejura, Kwabre & SHS heads.
According to them, before COVID-19, schools were doing at least 3 eggs a week. This translated into 150,000 crates/week (about 3.6 million pieces of eggs). So poultry farmers invested in more layers to sustain the demand from SHS, while it created jobs and income for many-thank you Nana Addo for creating jobs via free SHS.
Then in January this year, an order came from Accra that a certain company has been contracted by the government to supply imported Chinese mackerel to all SHS in Ghana. Apparently the company had been supplying to southern schools prior.
Since then, many schools started doing one egg a week. This reduced the demand for eggs by 70%, and coupled with supply chain disruptions of COVID-19, forced many poultry farmers who had invested in Layers to shutting down and lay off labour. The increase in the price of maize only nailed the coffin.
Dear Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, some of your policy decisions are now creating unemployment and poverty, eroding your own achievements, especially in your World Bank Ashanti, the HQ of Ghana Poultry. Lets Keep praying for Ghana! This Project is called Project Kwadanda".
Reacting to this, Dr. Clement Apaak, said it would be prudent to disclose how the company won the contract and the owners behind them.
He said the audit is important because the management of the free SHS is under the office of the President. He wondered why people would be deprived of their livelihood and an order be given for the importation of mackerel from China.
He wants the issue probed to unravel the circumstances leading to that order. "Who are the owners of the company given the contract to supply imported Chinese mackerel to all SHS in Ghana.
Keep in mind that it's the Presidency that expends the budget for the free SHS. An audit of ALL free SHS related expenditures since 2017 is most needed!"