Says N93bn provided in 2016 budget
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
In an apparent reaction to the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose’s comment that states should not contribute to the National Home-grown School Feeding, the presidency yesterday said adequate budgetary provisions had been made for the programme.
A statement issued yin Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the 2016 Budget provided for 5.5 million primary school pupils to be served one free meal a day.
Akande said while states were welcome to be active participants in the school feeding plan, their counterpart funding was not required to start the implementation of the programme.
He said: “Willing states are however being encouraged to complement the programme so it can reach more pupils, but state governments cannot and will not be compelled to do this.
“However, the support of the states is how vital whether they are able to fund in addition to what the federal government will do or not. We want the states to embrace this programme, it is good for the people, it’s a win-win for everyone.
“The school feeding programme is not a counter-part funding arrangement model, no. What we have is a plan where the FGN provides 100 per cent feeding costs for pupils in primary one to three in all public primary schools in the country.
“Let me be clear about this, the Buhari presidency has made adequate arrangements for the HGSF to happen and by the grace of God, we are going forward to do exactly that.
“But what is interesting is the fact that some states have actually gone ahead to start the school feeding programme on their own, while some others are also making such a plan.”
In that case he noted, “more primary school pupils would be fed in the final analysis.”
If a state is not able to fund the school feeding in Primary 4-6, Akande made it clear, that the federal government would not abandon such a state but instead go ahead and feed pupils from Primary 1-3.
He said 5.5 million school children would be fed free of charge for 200 school days in first phase of homegrown school feeding programme starting this year.
According to him, when the programme is completed, over the course of the elected four year term of the presidency, the number will rise to over 20 million.