|Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr. Laolu Akande|
The Presidency on Monday gave an update on the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme and slammed critics, who claimed the programme is dogged by funding problems.
On the contrary, the government said there are no payment issues or any kind of food rationing taking place in states where the programme has kicked off.
Laolu Akande, a Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said actual feeding of pupils is expected to commence this week in Ogun and Oyo States, while Ebonyi State will soon follow suit.
Akande said: “While the Federal Government has paid all approved cooks based on the number of pupils allocated to each cook, it is the State that provides the number of pupils to be fed. And where those figures change, the next batch of FG payment would reflect it.
“Specifically, where the number of pupils increase, the State will communicate the increase and approve the review. The numbers of the new pupils are then physically verified, before a commensurate number of cooks are engaged, trained and then paid.
“The FG has also adopted a system where it pays the cooks a 10-day advance payment for feeding. The programme is designed to ensure that no cook feeds more than 150 pupils a day, but in some cases, the numbers are as low as 35 children per cook.
“The meal which must be sufficient and nutritious is costed around locally sourced items and approved by the State under the N70 per child provision by the Federal Government. Food quality is monitored at the school level through the head teachers, the Parent Teachers Association, PTA, and the State monitoring teams.”
According to Akande, 11 States have so far indicated their readiness to commence the school feeding programme having met the Federal Government’s criteria.
He said the Buhari administration has demonstrated its commitment to alleviate poverty and empower youths, with the progress so far recorded with the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the N-Power Teach for unemployed graduates, the Conditional Cash Transfer for the poorest and the GEEP.