The total owed to caterers from the school feeding programme for the month of June is estimated at $20 million, while part of the month of May, 50 per cent ( $10 million), was paid according to CEO of the National Schools Dietary Services Limited (NSDSL), Stacy Barran.
She disclosed the information at a press conference yesterday held at the Ministry of Education Towers, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.
Barran said she was pleased to report all 75 contractors were ready for the reopening of the September to December school term.
“We produced 57,559 breakfast meals, and 86,392 lunches today (yesterday). We want to thank out caterers and staff of the NSDSL for their unwavering commitment and dedication with our nation’s children.”
She continued, “We are working timelessly in terms of meeting the outstanding debts as of September 1. Payments started and the rest of the remaining parts of May 2017 and the during this week we will continue to pay off all outstanding debts. We are in a state of readiness and all meals were served today (yesterday).”
When asked if the quality of meals have been affected by the budgetary cuts, Barran said the meals are priced at a standard cost of $9 plus VAT and the quality has not been affected.
“We have our quality assurance officers out on the field every day who visits the kitchen and the schools and we have been monitoring and the quality of taste has not been an issue. We have some outstanding monies to be paid and that will be dealt with and as far as we are concerned quality have not been affected.”
She added, “To date for this term they have stopped all almond juices, no sugar added juices, 100 per cent juices will be served in the next two weeks. We are on a path on serving all water as of this term.”