The Federal Government has granted Borno Government request to increase the number of pupils benefiting from the school feeding programme from 109,022 to 600,000.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, made this known Friday in Maiduguri during a high level meeting with officials of the state government on strengthening the implementation of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) in the state.
“The school feeding programme for which we have gathered today, provides one free meal to over nine million pupils in primary schools across the Nation.
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“In Borno State, we are providing funds to the State selected vendors and aggregators to feed – 109,022 pupils, 1554 cooks in 473 schools. In that value chain alone hundreds of jobs are created every day and people are earning.
“We have directives from Mr President to add five million more pupils into the school feeding programme. Borno State NSIP has proactively sent in a request to increase the population of pupils on the programme to 600,000.
“This is a progress and once we conclude our ongoing verification exercise here in Borno State, we will be able to update our records.
“We at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development are fully committed to the great cause of Mr President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. Borno State is important to us because there are so many people here who need help.
“This is why we are also today seeking to inform you of these great things that are happening in the nation and in Borno State. This platform is also for us to seek your further support on strengthening the implementation of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Program,” Farouq said.
She noted that under the programme, the federal government and the state governments have a shared responsibility and specific roles on the provision of these free meals to the children.
She explained that while federal government provided the funds and the guidelines needed to drive the programme, the state government is responsible for the implementation.
Farouq therefore urged Borno government to consider deploying additional support in order to ensure that the school feeding programme delivers on its objectives in the best possible ways.
“We advocate building the capacity and providing adequate budgetary support to the Borno state school feeding programme and the whole of the National Social Investment Programme.
“Facilitate Continuous sensitisation of communities and individuals through the various structures on the importance of the programme and the need for it to be safeguarded from all forms of corrupt practices by those who have been entrusted to prepare the meals, supply the food items, and even coordinate the activities.
“Provide adequate resources to ensure proper monitoring of the activities of the various actors engaged by the state to ensure full compliance of guidelines and responsibilities,” Farouq said.
Responding, the Deputy Governor of Borno, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, lauded the various federal government intervention programmes in the aimed to empower the populace and assured the state government commitment to key in and do what is expected of it for the programmes to record maximum success.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Focal Person for the programme in Borno, Hajiya Aisha Waziri, said the school-feeding programme is experiencing some challenges particularly in the areas of data capture of pupils involved, logistics and shortage of cooks to meet the increasing number of pupils involved.
“There is also the need to increase the cost of feeding each pupil from the present N70 per meal to N100 or more in view of the current realities.
“The present prize of N70 was fixed five years ago,” Waziri said.