Nigeria expended N523.3m on school feeding programme during COVID-19 lockdown

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Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development
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The Federal Government of Nigeria said it expended about N523.3 million on the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme during the lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (MHADMSD), Sadiya Farouq, announced this at the briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

Farouk made the revelation against the rumours and speculations going around the programme.

Its implementation during the lockdown has attracted criticisms.

She said that it was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th, Presidential directive.

“It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space.

“The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.

“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown.

“So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.

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“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases,’’ the minister said.

According to her, each takes home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.

The minister said that the figure generated from statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to six members in its household, with three to four dependents.

“So, each household is assumed to have three children.

“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.

“The meal costs N70 per child.

“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month.

“Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration’.

“The agreement was that the federal government will provide the funding while the states will implement.

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“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.’’

She said that her ministry invited government agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Department of State Security (DSS) and some NGOs to monitor the process.

“TrackaNG monitored and gave daily updates validating the programme.

“In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, and July 6.

“If 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.”

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