In what has been described as a shocking revelation, in the school feeding programme, the federal government of Nigeria has revealed that they expend about N635m daily to feed 9,300,892 pupils in 49,837 public primary schools in 26 states across Nigeria.
The revelation, obtained from Daily Trust, Sahara Reporters and other media outlets, it is detailed that ‘at a cost of $0.19 per child per day, the FG is able to provide a balanced meal for every one of the 9,300,892 pupils in 49,837 public primary schools in 26 states across Nigeria.
This figure amounts to about N635, 332, 771.45 (Six hundred thirty-five million, three hundred thirty-two thousand, seven hundred seventy-one and forty-five hundredths) when calculated by the rate of N359.52 to a dollar. Even if you go by the rate of N306.95, as obtained from CBN’s official release on April 1, 2019 – when the figures were released, this will still amount to shocking figures (about N542, 432, 671.886) in a nation where those kids will go back home to meet their poor parents who could be empowered to directly provide for their wards.
Professor Osinbajo was reported to have disclosed this while delivering a lecture titled ‘Nigeria Rising: The Path to Prosperity’ at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) 50th convocation Monday. According to him, ‘the federal government feeds public school pupils with 594 cattle, 138,000 chickens, 6.8million eggs and 83 metric tons of fish on a weekly basis.’
The programme, according to him, employs 95,422 cooks and over 100,000 small holder farmers linked to the programme supplying locally sourced ingredients.
Quoting the VP, Daily Trust reports: “As you can imagine, the quantity of starch and vegetables required for this programme on a weekly basis is equally impressive. Dietary energy and nutrients with established links to cognition-carbohydrates, protein, fat, iron and iodine as well as minerals with public health importance – are targeted by the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSF).
In October 2018, according to Sahara Reporters, at the then numbers, the programme costs $1,767,169.48 per day, and over $183 million has been invested.
If you multiplied the daily expenditure by the number of days that this programme has run, it becomes mind bugling! The argument that this scheme is providing over 100,000 small holder farmers linked to the programme pales to insignificance when you consider that on the average, every month, about 241920 Nigerians slip into extreme poverty, according to a data release by World Poverty clock!
For a country in which six Nigerians slip into extreme poverty every minute, it’s important that her resources are channeled to actual infrastructural developments that empower citizens to provide for their kids much more than depending on an assisted one-meal-per-day that leaves so many questions about how it is improving the lots of the so-called poor beneficiaries.
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