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School feeding programme on verge of collapse

Published: 
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Since May 2017, school feeding caterers have not been paid. They only received 25 per cent of the money for May, and it was paid in late in the month. A small percentage was paid in September and an even smaller percentage was given in October. Outstanding payments are due still for May, June, September. October claims are now to be submitted and November is fast coming due.

This situation has resulted in the continued suffering of many caterers and will have potentially adverse effects on thousands of students of the nation.

VAT payments are now overdue for October. Sources have indicated that NSDSL has given a draft letter to take to Inland Revenue asking for interest and penalty to be waived, but it is uncertain if the letter will get a positive response.

Salaries and other expenses have to be paid. Caterers are now crediting from all suppliers and some have refused to give goods due to the large amounts owed.

Many caterers will have to close their businesses from this month as they have no money to carry on. Most of these caterers supply approximately 1,500 meals per day each.

Funds are allocated from Ministry of Education to National Schools Dietary Services—NSDSL. There are about 87 approved caterers in the programme nationally. Each facility has at least 12
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Strangely enough I have seen people reserve comment on discussions of religion, race and politics because it appears to be unhealthy. If there is anything unhealthy about real life issues that affect us all, it would be the submissive, “dust the issue under the rug” attitude that we all employ as a tool to escape dealing with our problems head-on.

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NSDSL cannot say to caterers when payment is expected and stated that the Ministry of Education has said they are awaiting the Budget to be passed and are still awaiting funds.

From their experience, caterers in schools in rural areas say children come to school to get this meal, sometimes the only meal they eat for the day.

The NSDSL may have breached the contract with caterers with the non-payment for services completed for the Ministry of Education.

D MAHARAJ