The National Social Investment Office has refuted the misleading claims being circulated about the National Home – Grown School Feeding Programme in Kaduna State, that the Federal Government is spending N50 to feed each pupil in the public primary schools in the state.
The report, quoting cooks involved in the programme, had claimed that the Federal Government actually feeds each pupil with N35, as the cooks are expected to make a profit of N15 per meal.
Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, disputed the claim made by the cooks in a statement today.
The sttaement said: “When the Kaduna State Government commenced funding the school feeding programme in January 2016, the engaged cooks were paid N50 per meal for each of the pupils assigned to them. After the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Social Investment Office, took over the funding of Kaduna State school feeding programme in August 2017, the cost of feeding per child was increased to N70 per meal.
“Consequently, from Monday to Thursday of each school week, the sum of N62.50 is paid directly into each cook’s bank account, taking into account the amount of N30 which is paid directly to the Kaduna State Poultry Association for the supply of eggs to all of the cooks, as part of the menu selected for Wednesdays. For Fridays of every week, however, N70 is paid directly to the account of the supplier of biscuits and juice.
“The assertion that the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme has made provision for the sum of N15 as profit on each meal is curious, as the profit expected to accrue to the cooks from feeding pupils in classes 1-3 in the primary schools derives from the bulk provision for an aggregate number of children assigned to each cook, which ranges from between 70 to 150 school pupils per cook.
“It is also pertinent to state that under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme framework, standards and costing models have been developed for each menu, based on the nutrient targets for each child’s age group.
“After the State selects the content of its menu based on the food items that are accessible and affordable in each jurisdiction, and guided by the basic nutritional requirements prescribed by the Federal Government team, coordinated efforts are then made to directly link all the cooks to farmers, thereby availing them of the benefits of farm gate prices.
“In other words, concerted and deliberate efforts are made to connect the cooks to the agricultural value chain, to enable them source for fresh and organic food produce from the farmers at affordable rates, and not necessarily from the open market. This strategy has had a multiplier effect of stimulating productivity and providing a regular and sustainable income for the farmers.
“The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme is currently offering free meals to over 9.3million public school children in 26 States across Nigeria. The States include Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Benue, Niger, Plateau, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Adamawa and Jigawa.
“The remaining States are expected to engage with the programme within the year, as they are at various stages of compliance with the programme framework.
“As we proceed to engage more States on the programme, we request for public diligence and feedback from the States where feeding has commenced, to preempt, address and resolve any unsavoury incidents that have the potential of harming our children. We appeal to members of the public to call our hotlines – 08088899918, 08084000444 for this purpose, to enable us continually improve on the programme.”