By Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President, Office of the Vice President
*More than 6m pupils in 20 states currently being fed daily under Programme
*8 more states expected to be added in 2018
*300,000 interest-free loans disbursed to artisans, traders
*280,000 Nigerians benefit from Conditional Cash Transfer in 21 states
Over 246 million (246,355,190) meals has been served to date to primary pupils across 20 states in the country, since the first meal served in December 2016 under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
The total figure is expected to reach 313,928,420 meals by the last week of February 2018.
Also, the School Feeding Programme now feeds 6,044,625 pupils in 33,981 public primary schools across 20 states.
More states are expected to be added to the programme this year.
The NHGSFP plans to implement feeding in a total of 28 States, while it aims to link farmers to school feeding markets.
In the same vein, several milestones were recorded by the Buhari administration’s National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) in 2017, in line with its inclusive growth plan, which includes tackling poverty and hunger, and creating jobs for Nigerians.
About 40,000 direct jobs have since been created from the School Feeding Programme across the participating states. The 20 states that have so far been covered by the NHGSFP include Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger, and Kano.
Also, in 2017, the school 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 nationwide.
Meanwhile, the School Feeding programme now has a social media-based quality assurance tracking system, #TrackWithUs, ensuring that required standards for menu for pupils and meal distribution are adhered to across the states in a transparent manner.
Similarly, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) 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 have been disbursed nationwide.
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.
Below is a breakdown of the N109 billion released between October 2016 and November 2017 for the SIPs, namely: GEEP, CCT, NHGSFP, N-power, and general expenditure.
The GEEP expenditure was N11,700,200,466 while the CCT gulped N5,235,401,087.
In the same vein, between October 2016 and November 2017, N22,370,719,017 was expended for the Home-grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP); while N69,731,256,122 was expended on N-power, which is the Job Creation component of the SIP, during the same period.