The Federal Government on Sunday said it had paid suppliers of foodstuff and cooks in 33 participating states under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said the payment, which was for January 2020, would ensure that the feeding of the 9.9 million pupils in the 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory starts immediately schools resume in two weeks time.
She explaining that the payment covered the cost of feeding the school pupils in the participating states, adding that the funds were released in December to give the suppliers and cooks adequate time to procure and stock foodstuff.
Farouq said, “We believe that paying these funds early is critical to the success of the programme. We do not want any hitches and we want to ensure that the school children are fed on time and without any excuses.”
The minister warned that the Federal Government would not accept any drop in the nutritional quality of the meals given to the children.
She said the Federal Government had gladly received reports of improved attendance in the schools and improved hygiene among the pupils.
These outcomes, according to Farouq, were some of the reasons for setting up the school feeding programme.
She noted that under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme a total of 9,963,726 pupils were fed in 54,942 schools across the country and were served by 107,862 suppliers and cooks.
The programme is one of the components of the National Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government.
The NSIP, which was previously under the Presidency, was recently moved to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.