The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has flagged off the enumeration exercise of the National Home Grown School Feeding in Lokoja, Kogi State.
According to the Minister, the objective was to have a data base of the beneficiaries and to help in scaling up the number of beneficiaries from the present 9 million to 15 million pupils by 2023 in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Represented by Deputy Director, Internal Audit, Patience Achor, she said that the programme which covers pupils in classes one to three in public primary school had been of tremendous benefits to some sectors.
In a statement by a Principal Information Officer, Grace Osuji, yesterday, she added: “Over nine million pupils benefit from one free nutritious meal a day during school term nationwide and now we have the mandate to reach an additional five million pupils by 2023.
“With over 100,000 cooks employed, and more than 100,000 small holder farmers participating in this value chain , the NHGSFP is a serious potential for socio-economic development and it needs to be strengthened , scaled up and sustained nationwide.”
Farouq said verifying the existing number of beneficiaries on the programme and updating their records will guarantee effectiveness, transparency and accountability.
She pleaded with the State Government and other stakeholders to co-operate with her ministry in it is efforts to have a successful data capturing of beneficiaries in the state.
The Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Folasade Ayoade, on behalf of the Governor Yahaya Bello, promised to partner with the ministry to have a successful enumeration of beneficiaries.
Ayoade, who highlighted the achievements of the Bello administration since inception in 2016, lauded the Federal Government for initiating the school feeding programme for pupils in classes one to three, calling for it’s expansion to cover other pupils.
The Special Assistant to President Buhari on Special Needs, Danjuma Attah said that the objective was to have a data base of beneficiaries from 2016 till date.
“It is good to have a data base and bring in more pupils. It will enhance credible budgeting process and good policy formulation,” he said.
The State Special Adviser/ Focal Person on the National Social Investment Programme ( NSIP), Abdulkarim Onyekehi said that the exercise came at a time the state government was planning to embark on similar exercise.He said that the enumeration will authenticate the number of beneficiaries in the state which he put at 177,000.
Onyekehi said that the state currently has over 258,000 pupils in classes one to three in public primary schools in the state, expressing the hope that more beneficiaries from the state will be accommodated at the end of the biometric exercise.