We spent over N500m on school feeding programme during lockdown – Minister

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Sadiya Farouq
Sadiya Farouq

SADIYA Farouq, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, has said that the federal government spent over N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the COVID-19 lockdown. She said the intervention was to help the vulnerable members of the society cushion the economic effect of the pandemic.

Speaking at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 on Monday, August 3, Farouq said the programme was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29 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 ministry.

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

According to Farouq, each takes the home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation. The minister said the figure was 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 would provide the funding while the states would implement it. To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.”

Farouq said her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, 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 homes in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 families affected 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,” she said.

– Aug. 5, 2020 @ 14:05 GMT |

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