The Federal Government has denied some media reports that it spent the sum of N13.5 billion monthly on the homegrown school feeding program across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja during the lockdown period when school children were at home.
The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the school feeding program during the lockdown.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, on Monday, August 3, in Abuja.
The minister said that there had been a lot of rumours and speculations about one of the key government interventions, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She explained that the programme was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th Presidential directive, while also stating that it was done in consultation with stakeholders.
The minister said, “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.”
Going further, she revealed that each take home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at after proper consultation.
The minister said that the figure was generated from data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
She said, “According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 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 Minister said that it was agreed that the federal government would provide the funding, while the various state governments would handle the implementation. She said that in order to ensure a transparent process, the government had to partner with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.
She also said that her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs to monitor the process, just as TrackaNG also monitoring and giving daily updates, thereby validating the programme.
Giving a further breakdown she disclosed that 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 that benefited from the programme between May 14, and July 6.
She said, if 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount would be N523,273,800.
A media report had suggested that the Federal Government claimed it was spending the sum of N679 million daily or N13.5 billion on the school feeding program across the country even during the lockdown period when school children were at home.