The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, has reacted to several reports of purportedly spending more than N13 billion naira on the provision of take home rations under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme (HGSFP).
In a statement made available to Blueprint Tuesday, which was signed by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communications, Halima Oyelade, the Minister made the clarifications while speaking on Monday at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force, as she explained the rationale behind the modified HGSFP, the processes of engagement and funding, noting that the programme has launched in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.
Farouq clarified that she never said “every Nigerian has received palliatives”, even as she said that her Ministry will not be deterred from fulfilling its mandate, pointing out that very few government programmes have received “such high level of self-imposed scrutiny” with the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and a host of NGOs invited to monitor the home grown school feeding programme.
She said: “In recent days, there have been rumours and innuendos and speculations around one of our key interventions; the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), which was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29 Presidential directive.”
“The provision of Take Home rations under the modified HGSFP 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 lock down. 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 HGSFP, 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.
“In the FCT 29,609 households were impacted; Lagos recorded 37,589 households while Ogun state had 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.
“Also, I said that every state government in Nigeria has received palliatives for onward distribution to the poorest of the poor in their states.”