By Donald Ugwu
The Buhari administration has served no fewer than 246.4 million meals to primary school pupils across 20 states under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Vice President gave the update on Saturday and explained that the figure represented the meals served since December 2016.
According to him, meals served will reach 313,928,420 by the last week of February 2018. as 6,044,625 pupils in 33,981 public primary schools are fed.
Akande noted that more states were expected to be added to the programme this year as the NHGSFP plans to implement feeding in a total of 28 States.
He said the programme will soon link farmers to school feeding markets.
According to Akande, several milestones have been recorded by the Buhari administration’s National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) in 2017 in line with its inclusive growth plan.
The plan includes tackling poverty, hunger, and creating jobs for Nigerians.
“About 40,000 direct jobs have since been created from the School Feeding Programme across the participating states,’’ he said.
The states covered by the NHGSFP programme now inlcude Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger and Kano.
In 2017, the feeding programme collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health to deliver an integrated deworming programme for pupils in all public primary schools classes 1 to 6 across 17 states.
The programme has also created a social media-based quality assurance tracking system, #TrackWithUs.
The tracking would ensure that required standards for menu for pupils and meal distribution were adhered to across the states in a transparent manner.
On the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Akande said that it has so far recorded over 280,000 beneficiaries in 21 states, while about 300,000 Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) micro-credit, interest-free loans were disbursed.
“In the same vein, in 2017, the N-power scheme, which is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates, started its physical verification process for the 2017 applicants.
“In 2018, more beneficiaries are expected to be added to about 200,000 young graduates currently employed under the scheme.
“A total of N900 billion was appropriated for the SIPs in 2016 and 2017; with N500 billion appropriated for 2016 and N400 billion appropriated for 2017.
“However, the total amount released was N110 billion for 2016 and 2017, with the total expenditure of N109 billion,’’ he added.