The Federal Government has said it spent about N523.3m on the school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, (MHADMSD), Sadiya Farouq, disclosed this at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
She said the programmed was modified and implemented in three states during the lockdown, following a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Farouq, who said she was countering misinformation surrounding the controversial programme, which has been widely criticised by Nigerians, 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.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases.”
Farouq said each take home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.
According to her, the figure 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 will provide the funding while the states will implement.
“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.’’
Farouq added that 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 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted 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,” the minister said.