Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Audit reveals $19k wastage in school lunches daily

Government is moving to cut out some $19,000 in wastage on school breakfasts and lunches daily.

This, as an audit revealed wastage in the provision of services by caterers with the school feeding programme and maxi-taxi operators.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia said preliminary figures indicated that in excess of $234 million is spent on school nutrition annually, with 42,933 breakfasts and 65,269 lunches provided daily.

Following a survey of all schools across the country, it was discovered that an excess of 940 breakfasts and 1455 lunches were provided daily – amounting to wastage of $19,154.82 per day.

“This has resulted in a loss of $6,059.82 where breakfast meals are concerned and $13,095 where lunch is concerned.”

Regarding the provision of transportation services, the audit revealed that the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) would bill the Ministry for 34,000 seats but less than 50 percent of the seats were being utilised.

The Minister made it clear that in the country’s current economic position the Government could not afford to sustain that kind of wastage.

“So while we pay on a daily basis on one way for 34,000 seats, just 12,000 seats are being utilised. And you can understand, therefore, the wastage that occurs.”

As a means of arresting the problem, a committee comprising representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), the National Parent Teachers Association and the Ministry will be formed to examine service delivery and put forward solutions to address the situation, as well as ensure value for money is realised.

The Minister acknowledged that the providers of these essential services are owed substantial amounts, however, assured that Government will do all in its power to ensure that payments are settled.

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