The Federal Government expended about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, announced this at the briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
Farouk made the revelation against the rumours and speculations going around one of the key interventions of the government: Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She said the programme was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29 Presidential directive.
She 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 states 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.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States as pilot cases.”
According to Farouq, each take home ration was valued at N4,200 and the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.
The minister said the figure generated were from statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
She added: “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 as technical partners.”
Farouq said her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs to monitor the process.
She said: “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.”