Prof Jane Nana Opoku Agyemang, Minister of Education
Over 90 unpaid producers of exercise books for the government’s free supply of the stationery to public schools are no longer able to hold on indefinitely not knowing when to pick their cheques for their service.
Having produced thousands of the exercise books beautifully embossed with the inscription, ‘Developing A Better Ghana Through Education,’ some of them have either died or suffered various degrees of stroke, the result of uncontrollable stress levels.
Leading the charge against the government behind the screen for fear of being marked out and denied future contracts when things straighten out, is a man whose identity we would conceal. According to him, some of his colleagues had died unable to cope with the stress associated with their inability to service the loans they contracted from financial institutions. ‘The interests continue to mount even as we are unable to determine when we would be paid what would eventually be reduced to nothingness after the banks take away their interests,’ he told DAILY GUIDE when he turned up at the offices of the newspaper last week.
Some of the loans he said date back as far as 2012 and it could only be imagined how much interests the contracted loans had accrued over the period.
‘We have tried to no avail to have government consider our plight and pay us what is due us. Some of us have died and others suffered health conditions like stroke. Our representations to the Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance have not changed anything as we continue to sit in limbo,’ he said.
He revealed, ‘The Ministry of Education is unable as a result, to contract us to produce more exercise books, given the state of government indebtedness to producers.’
A typical offer letter to one of the contractors and sighted by DAILY GUIDE read as follows among other details: the supply of exercise book No.1 including transportation, loading and off-loading.
‘Payment under the deal shall be made in Ghanaian Cedis in the following manner: hundred percent for the contract price shall be paid to the supplier within thirty days after delivery to specified destinations and receipt of claim letter, supported by Store Receipt Vouchers and an acceptance issued by the purchaser.
‘Suppliers shall in cases of unexcused delay in the performance of their delivery obligations, render the suppliers liable to a minimum penalty of 0.5% of the delivery price of the delayed goods for each week of delay until actual delivery up to a maximum deduction of 10% of the delayed goods and in addition to any or all of the following sanctions.’
Unfortunately, the interests of the contractors are hardly protected by any of the clauses underpinning the contract.
By A.R. Gomda
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