Sunday Ode, Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday said that it has expended N49 billion on feeding of pupils in public primary schools in the country in the last two years.
At the moment, the school feeding programme which is currently running in 24 states of the federation gulps N13 billion monthly.
Special Adviser to the President on National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Mrs. Mariam Uwais disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
She said N220billion had been released within the period for the implementation of the four major components of the programme. They include N-Power, NHGSFP, NCTP and GEEP.
The Federal Government budgeted N500 billion each for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal year, but N140 billion was released in 2017 while only N80 billion was accessed by the NSIP in 2016.The NSIP which was created in 2015 was officially launched in 2016 to deliver social economic support to disadvantaged Nigerians across the country.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Uwais explained that about 8.596million pupils were currently being fed by the federal government in 46,247 public primary schools in 24 states of the federation.According to her, through the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, 90,670 Nigerians have been engaged and empowered as cooks while over 100,000 local farmers have also been linked to the programme to supply locally sourced farm produced.
“We have created a value chain with significant economic benefits to the micro economic development of the states. The value chain offers additional benefits of job creation and increased livelihood outcomes for both cooks and small holder-farmers, hence improving livelihood and the local economies.” She added.
Mrs. Uwais noted that government was having challenges with the implementation of the school feeding programme in Niger and Benue states.She said already some officials in the programme in these two states had been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation and prosecution.
“The National Social Investment Office is ably empowered to suspend the programme in any state where the prescribed standard is reported to have fallen below expectation until a redesigned and realignment is achieved,” the presidential aide noted.
The objective of National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme is to provide one nutritious, balanced meal each school day to 5.5million pupils in classes to One to Three in the public primary schools across the a country.Government says that it has achieved 30percent improvement in school enrollment in the country since the commencement of the programme.
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