The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has cleared the air on speculations that her minister had spent about N13billion spent on the provision of take-home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme.
The minister made the clarifications on Monday during the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, as contained in the minister’s Special Adviser on Strategic Communications, Halima Oyelade.
Ms Umar-Farouq also explained the rationale behind the modified home-grown school feeding programme, the process of engagement and how it was funded.
She said: “The provision of Take-Home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding Programme was not a SOLE initiative of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“The Ministry in obeying the Presidential directive went into consultations with state governments through the Nigeria 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 and the stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states as pilot cases.
“Each Take Home Ration is valued at N4,200 and that figure was not arrived at without proper consultation. It was not invented.
“According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 regarded as dependent and so each household is assumed to have 3 children.
“Now 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. 3 children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month. That was how we arrived at the cost of the Take Home Ration.”
Speaking further, Ms Umar-Farouq noted that the programme had been launched in only two states; Lagos and Ogun plus the FCT.
She said: “In the FCT 29,609 households were impacted; Lagos recorded 37,589 households while Ogun state was 60,391 households making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, 2020 and July 6, 2020.
“If 124,589 households received Take Home Rations valued at N4,200 the total figure will be N523,273,800. And note this was not spent daily. The FCT commenced first, followed by Lagos before Ogun state. It was not DAILY.”
Ms Umar-Farouq also denied having said that “every Nigerian has received palliatives”.
“What I said is that every state government in Nigeria has received palliatives for onward distribution to the poorest of the poor in their states.”
While noting that her ministry would not be deterred from fulfilling its mandate, the minister also pointed out that very few government programmes had received “such high level of self-imposed scrutiny” by the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, SSS and a host of other NGOs invited to monitor the home grown school feeding programme.