Publishers Chase Gov’t

Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman

Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman

The Ghana Book Publishers Associations (GBPA) is up in arms against government and the Ministry of Education (MoE) for their inability to settle a debt of US$35, 746, 750.00 owed five of its members.

The DAILY GUIDE had discovered that the MoE contracted Approachers (Ghana) Limited, Winmat Publishers Limited, Adwinsa Publications Ghana Limited, Sedco Publishing Limited and EPP Books Services to supply it with the some Atlases (Social Studies text books) after going through an open tender process.

Approachers Limited was made to supply a total of 3, 125,000 pieces of the Atlases at a unit cost of $6.5, amounting to $20, 312, 500.00 while Winmat Publishers were made to supply 687, 500 pieces amounting to $4, 468, 750.00 with Adwinsa Publications having to supply 625,000 pieces of same amounting to $4, 062, 500.

The rest, including Sedco Publishing supplied 125,000 pieces of those Atlases amounting to $812, 500.00 while EPP Books supplied the Ministry with 937,000 amounting to $6, 090, 500.00, all totaling $35, 746, 750.00.

But Executive Secretary of GBPA, Fauna Atta Frimpong, told the DAILY GUIDE that the Association was considering the option of going to court to compel government and for that matter the MoE to pay the amount.

This, he said was because ‘the Association has exhausted every means possible to get them to listen in on us and to make the effort to at least pay part of it.’

What seemed to have provoked their decision to seek legal redress was the fact that the Ministry had failed to respond to several letters written to them to honour payment.

In one of such letters which was written and signed by the President of GBPA, Asare Konadu Yamoah, on behalf of the five members and sent to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Education dated November 5, 2013 captioned ‘Delay in Payment of Social Studies Atlases’, he expressed the hope that the Ministry would settle the publishers to avert any legal action which he admitted might not augur well for both parties.

‘Two  years down the lane, not even a single pesewa has been paid to all these participating publishers and we have written several letters trying to impress on the Ministry to make the necessary effort to at least pay part of it; our effort hasn’t yielded any positive response,’ he narrated.

Instead, he stated, ‘They keep on telling us when government releases money they are going to make payment.’

DAILY GUIDE had also sighted a copy of a letter dated June 28, 2013 captioned ‘Release of Funds for the Supply of Social Studies Atlases to the Administrator of GETFUND’ was written by the Chief  Director of the Ministry of Education, Enoch Cobbinah, in which he directed the GETFUND to pay 90.7%  being $32, 437, 264.82 (part payment).

Interestingly, that also remains to be fulfilled even though it was noted in the letter that ‘the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has given the Ministry clearance for the suppliers to be paid.’

The Executive Secretary of the GBPA therefore noted, ‘We have given them two weeks to respond appropriately; if we don’t get an appropriate response from them, we may have to seek legal means to get them to pay our monies back.’

This, he said was in view of the fact that a similar petition they sent to the Presidency somewhere in November 2013 had equally not yielded any results.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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