FG: We are not spending N679m daily on feeding schoolchildren

The Federal Government of Nigeria has denied reports on the media suggesting that it spends N679 million per day on the feeding of schoolchildren.

Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made this clarification Friday speaking during the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19.

She said: “For clarity, the programme which is funded by the federal government of Nigeria is implemented by the state governments and facilitated by the Federal Ministry of human Affairs, disaster Management and Social Development.

“And this programme, as modified is targeted at heads of the households, Guardians and caregivers, of this children the primary school pupils one to three.

“And also we are not spending N679 million per day as alluded to, that number is inaccurate the take-home ration worth N4,200 per household and as planned as a monthly COVID-19 intervention for 3, 131,971 households in the participating states of the Federation.

“When the federal government ordered the closure of schools across the country in order to help flatten the curve on the COVID-19, it interrupted the school feeding programme, which is one of our Cardinal project has a government and which preceded the COVID-19 outbreak, because the programme was already ongoing food vendors had already been contacted and mobilized for the project.

“We’re also mindful of the fact that most vendors having mobilised are made purchases Preparatory to the project as official. It’s not just possible to ask them for a refund. This has been done before the schools calendar was disrupted.

“In light of this the, dimension demanding a refund will be cumbersome and unrealistic. So the ministry went into consultation with Nigerian governance Forum in line with the directive of Mr. President talked about modalities on how to continue with the program despite that that the schools are closed and especially because of the expantiating challenges posed by this COVID-19.

“That is how we arrived at the modified School feeding program of taking food rations into the households of these children.

“So how we got our data with children at home was another issue. When children are enrolled in schools, as part of the registration process has a detailed register which contains the address of parents and guardians of every people is kept with the school as well as the class teachers. We also obtained those from SUBEB and other sources.

“Also in the community where these are children live, every child’s home can be easily identified by members of that community and management of these schools. So to ensure full transparency so that the programme is not compromised, we are submitting a full list of all the vendors to the EFFC and let me also state here that these vendors have been in the structure since 2016. So we’re using existing structure is not a whole new program that were enrolling, no.

“The vendors that have been in the programme that we are using because they used to providing this food and materials to do cooks to cook.

“We have also invited other agencies of government including the DSS, EFFC, ICPC code of conduct and a host of NGOs and CSOs to help us monitor. I’m sure you agree with me yesterday, you must have noticed a large number of people participating in the process or in the flag off because we engage as many stakeholders as possible to be part of that being very mindful of the social distance guideline.

“I’m going into some light in order to disapprove some misinformation and misunderstanding around modified programme and to ask Nigerians to support this for active intervention designed to keep our children fed during this pandemic, So that objective of this National home work school feeding programme is not compromised.

“Having children being fed with nutritious food as well as boosting the local economy of this community. We are working with agro Farmers, We’re working with poultry associations that have to at this point in time get their product aboard, especially when you talk about the eggs that we provide to this our children. So we are boosting the local economy.”

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