Members of the National Food Suppliers Association (NAFSA) have started picketing at the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) to demand debts owed to them by the government.
The group said it would not end the picketing until the government paid the GH¢270 million owed the members as two years’ arrears.
The amount is for supplies of foodstuffs to various senior high schools in support of the free senior high school (SHS) policy.
After serving notice to embark on the picketing, the association yesterday besieged the premises of NAFCO, with members carrying placards with inscriptions that read, “banks are auctioning our property”; “our creditors are sending us to court”; “Mr. President, please order buffer stock to pay us”; “Pay us our money for peace to prevail”; “enough of your deceit and intimidation”, and “stop under-invoicing supplies”.
To drive home their decision of not backing out until they are paid, some members arrived at the NAFCO premises with cooking stoves, cooking utensils, water, sleeping cloths, sleeping mats, and some foodstuffs such as yam.
Sporting red and black attires with red bands on their heads and hands, they chanted war songs while they pleaded with the government and the appropriate authority to intervene and save the situation.
A spokesperson for the association, Kwaku Amedume explaining the plight of the members in an interview with journalists, said “We have done everything possible to get our money paid to us but our efforts have not yielded any positive results”.
He said although the members had been anticipating a positive response from the government, “we have not heard anything.
Nobody has called us to tell us where and how our money is going to be paid”.
The non-payment of the arrears, he said, was affecting the members of the association negatively as most of them depended on credit for their business and some little credibility to do business.
Some of the members of the association, he said, had used their properties as collateral to secure loans from their creditors.
“Some of these collaterals are on the verge of being taken over by the creditors.
“It’s a serious issue that we’re putting before the government because most of our members rely on loans to do their supply,” he said.
Originally, Mr. Amedume said, the association had intended to picket on June 13, but the management of NAFCO engaged in a closed-door meeting with stakeholders to resolve the matter, “but the conclusions drawn at that engagement is yet to be realized after two weeks of making sweet promises.”