Mariam Uwais, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on social protection, says the federal government has spent N49 billion on the national home-grown school feeding programme.
The programme, meant for feeding primary school pupils across the country, is a component of the government’s social investment, has been ongoing in the last two years.
Uwais said 8, 596,340 pupils were currently being fed in 46,247 public primary schools in 24 states.
She listed the as Abia, Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.
She added that through the programme, 90,670 Nigerians had been engaged and empowered as cooks while over 100,000 local farmers had also been linked with the programme to supply locally sourced farm produce.
Uwais said the government had achieved 30 percent improvement in school enrollment in the country since the commencement of the programme.
“We have created a value chain with significant economic benefits to the micro-economic development of the states.” she said.
“The value chain offers additional benefits of job creation and increased livelihood outcomes for both cooks and small holder-farmers, hence improving livelihood and the local economies.”
Uwais noted that government was having challenges with the implementation of the school feeding programme in Niger and Benue states, adding that some officials in the two states have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation and prosecution.
“The national social investment office is ably empowered to suspend the programme in any state where the prescribed standard is reported to have fallen below expectation until a redesigned and realignment is achieved,” she said.
She said while the federal government budgeted and appropriated N500bn for the 2016 fiscal year and the same amount in 2017, only about N140bn was released in 2017 while N80bn was accessed in 2016.
Other components of the SIP are N-Power, national cash transfer project, and government enterprise and empowerment programme.