Unbelievable: Ministry spends N523m to feed children during lockdown
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (MHADMSD), Sadiya Farouq, has given a breakdown of how the ministry expended N523.3 million on school feeding programme during COVID-19-induced lockdown in two states and the FCT.
She gave the breakdown during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) on Monday.
Farouq said that N4,200 was expended per month on feeding three children in each household in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
She said that this was done through ‘Take Home Rations’, a modification of the Home School Feeding Programme necessitated by the lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020.
The minister 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 revealed that her ministry relied on statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) in implementing the modified programme.
“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,’’ the minister said.
She further explained that the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs were engaged by the ministry 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,’’ Farouq added.