The Minister of Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq on Tuesday has dismissed a report that the sum of N15 billion was spent on the Home Grown School Feeding Programme during the COVID -19 lockdown.
Giving an update on the Minister’s presentation at the Presidential Task Force press briefing held on Monday, the Special Adviser on Strategic Communications, Halima Oyelade, explained that the Minister gave a comprehensive response to speculations and fake news circulating around sums purportedly spent daily on the provision of take-home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
According to her, the total sum of N523,273,800 was spent on ‘Take Home Ration’ given to 124,589 households impacted between May 14, 2020 and July 6, 2020, in FCT, Ogun and Lagos States respectively between May 14, 2020 and July 6, 2020.
“In recent days, there have been rumours and innuendos and speculations around one of our key interventions; the Home Grown School Feeding Programme which was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th Presidential directive.
“The provision of Take-Home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding Programme was not a sole initiative of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“The Ministry in obeying the Presidential directive went into consultations with State Governments through the Nigeria Governors’ 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 and the stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states as pilot cases.
“Each Take Home Ration is valued at N4,200 and that figure was not arrived at without proper consultation. It was not invented.
“According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 regarded as dependent and so each household is assumed to have 3 children.
“Now 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. 3 children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month. That was how we arrived at the cost of the Take Home Ration.”
Speaking further, the Minister, noted that the programme has launched in only two states; Lagos and Ogun plus the FCT.
“In the FCT 29,609 households were impacted; Lagos recorded 37,589 households while Ogun state was 60,391 households making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, 2020 and July 6, 2020. If 124,589 households received Take Home Rations valued at N4,200 the total figure will be N523,273,800. And note this was not spent daily. The FCT commenced first, followed by Lagos before Ogun state. It was not daily.”
The Minister also clarified that she never said “every Nigerian has received palliatives.
“What I said is that every state government in Nigeria has received palliatives for onward distribution to the poorest of the poor in their states.”
While noting that her Ministry will not be deterred from fulfilling its mandate, Sadiya Farouq also pointed out that very few government programmes have received “such high level of self-imposed scrutiny” with the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and a host of NGOs invited to monitor the homegrown school feeding programme.
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