• Social investment: FG spends N41bn on 25 million meals
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said the next 10 years would be difficult for African economies as a result of the inability of various governments to provide infrastructure the way they used to do.
Osinbajo who made this remark at the occasion of the 10th year anniversary of the corporation in Abuja, therefore challenged the African Finance Corporation (AFC) to bridge the gap in imminent infrastructure deficit in Africa.
Specifically, the acting president emphasised the need for AFC to invest in broadband infrastructure which he said had won its place as the new utility alongside electricity, transportation, telecoms, and water supply “and it is bound to affect and indeed is already defining how every one of these other utilities work and will work in the coming years.”
“It is important to mention also how in the past most nations, especially African countries were able to pay up for infrastructure projects in one way or the other. But that sovereign risk environment is changing quickly. Governments had always in the past been the largest contributor to infrastructure even when payments were always never really smooth, but they were able to offer sovereign guarantees or cash support.
“But today, that is no longer forthcoming given the huge deficits and sovereign debts that most governments now experience. So, the time certainly calls for new thinking, AFCs and DFIs like that must now begin to look for new ways of engaging with governments, you must look for new ways of engaging with African governments.
“We cannot forget that unless corporations like AFC recognise that what is important to do in these times, the next 10 years will indeed be very difficult years for our economies, for the African economy. We will be relying on AFC, our own DFIs to do much more; we will be relying on them to show much leadership to take greater risks,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the federal government said yesterday that it had spent N41.7 billion on 25 million meals under the auspices of National Homegrown School Feeding Programme in all the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as part of its social investment programme.
A statement by the acting president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, said no fewer than 1, 051, 619 primary school pupils are currently being fed across seven states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Zamfara States while 11,847 cooks have secured employment under the scheme.
He also gave a breakdown of the sum spent on other programmes such as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), N-Power, among others.
“Specifically, Delta State is expected to receive soon, a sum of N63, 366, 100 to start the feeding of 90, 523 primary school pupils. In the same vein, Abia State is also expected to receive N42, 921, 200. Besides, Kaduna State has now been repaid N3.4 billion for its past expenses implementing the food programme ahead of federal government’s roll-out.
“In a breakdown of the over N41 billion so far spent on SIPs, N-Power, which is the job programme for unemployed graduates has received N26.418 billion, being the single largest spending item out of the four social investment programmes under the 2016 Appropriation.
“Beside, N-Power, actual released funding for the other three programmes, apart from other expenses, so far, are as follows: Home Grown School Feeding (HGSFP) – N7.092 billion; Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) – N800 million; Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP) – N7.301 billion,” the statement said.