By Blessing Bature-Akpakpan,
The Federal Government said it would commence the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), in February 2021, across the country including FCT.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in Abuja at the 4th annual review of the scheme, saying we are commencing the school feeding scheme immediately school resumes and we normally do the payment at the third week of the month.
“So, before the third week of February we will be able to achieve some of these things. And we will be able to see increment in school enrollment,” she said.
Farouq, who disclosed that additional 5 million pupils including children in the non-conventional educational settings, would be added to the scheme, added that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had been added to NHGSFP, while Kwara State would be included in the coming months.
She, further announced that the NHGSFP “will soon launch a capacity building exercise for vendors and enumeration of all beneficiaries on the programmme, “Plans have been concluded for the transition of the N-power batch A and B through the creation of the NEXT portal, which would allow those who choose to sign up to access other Government empowerment opportunities.
“A beneficiary management system for the NSIPs is expected to be deployed in 2021, which would have the capacity to manage payments, address grievances and improve dissemination of information.”
Meanwhile, the NHGSFP Programmme Manager, Kogi State, Abdulkareem Suleiman, identified lack of logistics, communication gap and poor funding as some of the challenges witnessed so far.
Suleiman appealed to the Federal Government, to increase funding and communication channels with State Governments, in order to achieve the aim of the scheme that the school feeding programme is one of the component of the NSIP and there are a lot of procedures to be followed. We notice that there is a need for support from the Federal Government for us to be able to operate smoothly.
“We are advising that the Federal Government should not leave anything for the state government. Inasmuch as the beneficiaries are people from the state the, people should be part of the Federal Government because it has nobody except people from various states.
“We have challenges of utility, proper managing and evaluation. We also have challenges of the media. Media is expensive.
“The Federal Government has spent over N16 billion in Kogi State which include all other schemes. There should be special provision for media engagement because as far as I am concerned, each state NHSGFP is a segment of the national office the programme.
“In the last feeding programme we were supposed to implement before the outbreak of COVID-19 was 85,000 pupils. But since we did not do anything, we will use the opportunity to revalidate our data. So we will be feeding about 258,000 pupils,” he concluded.